American Formula One team Haas F1 no longer has a relationship with their title sponsor Rich Energy.
A British energy drink company, Rich Energy announced the news on Twitter Wednesday morning (July 10).
Their tweet said the contract was terminated for poor performance. It also was critical of the racing itself, claiming, “The politics and PC attitude in F1 is inhibiting our business.”
Rich Energy’s Twitter also indicates they sponsor boxing events and motorcycle racing. They’ve also acquired a reputation for frequently attacking energy drink titan Red Bull.
But there is much confusion about whether the company exists at all, much less if they have the financial backing to support an F1 sponsorship.
Their drinks appear to only be available on Amazon, according to a comment forum on Autosport.com. However, their products were unable to be found after a search by Frontstretch staff, though several T-shirts and hats advertising their Haas F1 partnership came up.
Also according to that comment forum, the Rich Energy headquarters are located in a coworking building, and possibly consist of just a single desk.
When Jalopnik looked into Rich Energy, they found the company had 581 pounds in the bank in 2017, which equates to $770 in US dollars. Rich Energy CEO William Storey told them that the drink was sold in close to 40 countries, but did not go into specifics.
One of the Rich Energy co-owners, David Sullivan, also owns the West Ham United soccer club of the Premier League, after making his fortune through various unsavory means.
Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner told Motorsport.com in October 2018, shortly after the deal was announced, “Obviously, we did what we needed to do, and our legal advisors were content with that.”
Motorsport.com also reported that Rich Energy tried to buy Force India last year, but their bid was rejected. Also, the company was sued last month for copyright infringement by bicycle manufacturer Whyte Bikes and lost the case. According to ESPN, Haas F1 was requested to stop using the company’s logo on their vehicles.
Haas F1 is owned by Gene Haas, co-owner of NASCAR’s Stewart-Haas Racing, which had a primary sponsorship deal fall through several years ago when Nature’s Bakery ran out of money after pledging to back Danica Patrick’s No. 10 team, which hastened her retirement.
Haas F1 is in their third year of existence, and drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean have combined for 16 points. The team is ninth of 10 organizations in the constructor standings, ahead of only Williams (the equivalent of Premium Motorsports).
Magnussen has the team’s best finish of sixth at the Australian Grand Prix, while Grosjean’s best is 10th in both Spain and Monaco.
As of yet the team has not commented on the situation.