Haas will change its name and livery in 2019 after signing a multi-year title sponsorship agreement with mysterious British drinks company Rich Energy.
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team, as the American team will be known from next season, will undertake a “significant livery change” to incorporate the black and gold colours of its new sponsor.
“Securing a title partner in Rich Energy is another milestone moment in the development of Haas F1 Team,” team principal Gunther Steiner said via press release. “As we have seen already this season, our own continued push for performance has delivered on-track, and I have no doubt that the platform we provide for Rich Energy will translate into equally favourable dividends.”
Rich Energy CEO William Storey said he believed his business and the Haas F1 team “share a synergy” that could be exploited via the new partnership.
“We revel in competition,” he said. “Formula One is a premium product in its own right, and our partnership with Haas F1 Team ensures we have a prized asset on which to build our global marketing efforts.”
Rich Energy has been circling Formula One for some time but is most notable foray into the sport game in August, when it involved itself in legal proceedings that ended in Force India’s administration.
Facing a winding-up petition from the British tax office, Rich Energy swooped in with a £30 million (A$54 million) sponsorship offer in an attempt to rescue the team.
However, the judge considered the proposal insufficient considering the size of the debts owed by Force India and instead chose to accept the petition backed by a Sergio Perez-linked business to put the team into administration, a process that ultimately proved successful.
Rich Energy lashed out against the decision via its Twitter account.
Despite a last minute £30m cash injection from @rich_energy the court has today put @ForceIndiaF1 into administration. A tragic and avoidable outcome orchestrated by @MercedesAMGF1 @SChecoPerez , Julian Jakobi and BWT. Disgraceful pic.twitter.com/2E9N9WPmKy
— Rich Energy (@rich_energy) July 27, 2018
Storey later insisted that he wouldn’t be deterred from taking his company into Formula One, and the bearded drinks boss was most recently linked to Williams, members of whom he was seen with at the United States Grand Prix.
It was therefore a considerable surprise to the paddock that a major sponsorship deal had been agreed with Haas apparently in the days since last weekend’s race, but Steiner insisted the team had undertaken the correct processes in signing the contract.
“Your due diligence you don’t do with the person there; there are some other ways to do that and I hope we did,” Steiner told media in Mexico, defending the seemingly short time line of events. “We did what we needed to do before we met him.”
“We did what we needed to do and our legal advisors were content with it.”
The sponsorship agreement will presumably be a significant boon to Haas’s budget if the drinks company’s Force India offer in August serves as a reference, but Steiner said it wasn’t his intention to spend big with his newfound cash, instead suggesting it would be used to create savings for the team’s owner, Gene Haas.
“We are preparing the budgets for next year now and then we see what we come up with and the investments we want to make for next year to go better and then we see how we split it up,” he said.
“It’s not like, ‘Oh, more money, let’s go big now, let’s employ 200 people or let’s buy a new big building or five dynos’ — no nothing like this.
“We are well grounded, we show that our business model is working quite well.”