Haas Confirms It's An Independent F1 Team That Doesn't Need Rich Energy Anyway

Romain Grosjean at the Italian Grand Prix.
Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

The Haas Formula One team entered into a title sponsor partnership with British energy drink company Rich Energy that went down as well as a can of Rich Energy goes down: not great. But it seems like our early suspicions were true. When the Rich Energy deal tanked, Haas had cash to fill the void.

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Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner talked money with Autosport recently, saying that a performance slump from fifth of 10 in the constructor standings last year to ninth so far this year will mean a big drop in prize money and thus a financial hole that needs to be recovered.

But the interesting part was when the conversation got to the hole left by Rich Energy, the team’s former circus-show title partner that Haas announced it was done with on Sept. 9.

(The ever-wild Rich Energy Twitter account confirmed the split that day, before tweeting Sept. 29 that Haas “did a deal with unauthorized non officers” of Rich Energy in ending the partnership, and thus, it was still on for the Russian Grand Prix that weekend. Haas did not run the Rich Energy logo in Russia.)

But in regards to the terminated deal with Rich Energy, Steiner told Autosport the monetary loss was covered by Haas Automation, the apparently well-heeled machining company under Haas F1 owner Gene Haas.

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We expected this to be the fallback from the beginning since Haas can theoretically support a race team on its own.

From the story:

Haas’s 2019 season has also been clouded by its shortlived and turbulent title sponsorship deal with Rich Energy.

Steiner said parent company Haas Automation would make up any budget shortfall caused by the Rich saga.

“We haven’t lost money, but luckily we’ve got Haas Automation as a good partner, and they’ll support us for what the deal didn’t bring to the final bit,” he explained.

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The deal had about 35 million pounds, or more than $42.7 million at current exchange rates, owed through 2021, according to an apparent Haas legal letter posted on Twitter by the Rich Energy account.

Haas declined to comment on the apparent letter or anything in it to Jalopnik at the time.

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But Steiner told Autosport he was “relieved that the Rich story was now over,” as paraphrased by the story, even if Rich Energy called the contract termination a “#NoDeal” at the end of last month. That relief makes sense, given the company’s shady background, the legal issues over its logo and apparently its slogan, the Twitter account that almost seems like a troll bot, and, well, everything else.

From the story:

“The investors, they are good people. And I don’t know where they’re going,” said Steiner.

“But I’m relieved not to have to deal with it anymore because it gets old after a while.

“When you don’t make progress, you have to deal with the problem where there is no progress made, that is not satisfying in my life, and I’m not going out to fight with somebody just for the sake of it. If you cannot make progress, why waste energy?

“So, it is disappointing that it ended how it ended, but again, with the investors in Rich Energy, we terminated on good standing, so you never know what happens in the future.”

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Steiner is right. You just never know, especially with Rich Energy.

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About the author

Alanis King

Alanis King is a staff writer at Jalopnik.