Haas F1 Signs Soft Drink Startup Rich Energy as 2019 Title Sponsor

Rich Energy was among the attempted buyers of Force India, but was dismissed as a non-credible bid at the time.

byJames Gilboy| UPDATED Oct 29, 2018 10:22 AM
Haas F1 Signs Soft Drink Startup Rich Energy as 2019 Title Sponsor

Haas F1 Team and soft drink startup Rich Energy announced Thursday that the two would partner for the 2019 Formula 1 season, with Rich Energy as a title sponsor for the team.

"Securing a title partner in Rich Energy is another milestone moment in the development of Haas F1 Team," stated Haas team principal Guenther Steiner in the team's release. "We welcome their commitment to us as an organization, and together we share an ambition to advance further in our respective fields. It's going to be exciting for us as a team to be the focal point of Rich Energy's marketing endeavors, as we go into both new and existing consumer markets around the world in Formula 1."

"We are delighted to become the official title partner of Haas F1 Team in Formula One," added Rich Energy CEO William Storey. "Our companies share a synergy in our work ethos, and our desire to bring something new to the table in an environment made up of established brands. We revel in competition, and through our distinctive collaboration, we're looking to further prosper, delivering an exciting concept for the promotion of Rich Energy to the consumer along the way."

Rich Energy has been attempting to get into Formula 1 for several months and surfaced early in 2018 as an aspiring buyer of Force India. When the team went into administration over the summer break, Rich Energy again made a move for the Silverstone-based outfit, but its attempted buyout was dismissed by a judge as non-credible. Force India later emerged under ownership of Williams driver Lance Stroll's father Lawrence and his associates, who renamed the team Racing Point Force India for the season, retaining its entry and assets but waiving its points for the season.

The drink manufacturer likely got the cash to sponsor Haas from an investment by British villionaire David Sullivan, announced earlier this month by Storey via LinkedIn. With money in its pocket, Rich Energy returned to courting teams, reportedly first targeting Williams, whose title sponsor Martini departs at the end of 2018.

Williams was reportedly just a signature away from renaming itself Williams Rich Energy Racing, but the company ended up with a Haas title sponsorship instead, reportedly for as little as half of what Williams wanted. According to Steiner, the team's deal with Rich Energy developed rapidly, the two entities opening up discussions just before the United States Grand Prix.

"It was before Austin that we started to talk. We talked what we can do, what we will do and what they will do, and then it came together," Steiner told Race Fans. The Haas team principal confirmed that the team's livery will change accordingly to accommodate Rich Energy's primarily black color palette, with gold highlights. One conceptual Rich Energy livery can be seen in the company's tweets, which feature a modified version of a fan livery by Sean Bull Design.

In discussion on the contract between team and company, Storey could only confirm to The Drive that Haas and Rich energy have a "long term" title sponsorship deal. He said that the team's livery would remain "confidential for now," adding that both Gene Haas' and his own company would "feature heavily" in the Haas VF-19's design scheme.