Relief for Haas F1 as Rich Energy CEO forced out, title deal lives on

The Haas F1 Team has reached the end of an era with former title sponsor Rich Energy, after the company rebranded itself and forced out controversial founder and chief executive William Storey.

As of yesterday, documents from the UK government’s Companies House confirm that Rich Energy has changed its name to Lightning Volt, and William Storey is no longer its chief executive or director.

The news means that Lightning Volt will continue as Haas F1 title sponsor, just as the team had claimed throughout the past week, even while Storey continued to insist that he had “sacked” Haas and “cancelled” the deal.

But Storey, who appears to have been in control of Rich Energy’s official Twitter account throughout the controversy, has refused to go quietly.

Yesterday morning, the Rich Energy account attacked Haas F1 for allegedly lobbying shareholders to remove Storey:

“Lobbying for the removal of the CEO, largest shareholder & founder of your title partner is repudiatory breach @HaasF1Team. Mr Storey was also personal guarantor of the contract. It is like @rich_energy seeking to remove Gene Haas! Amidst the noise let’s get real. #richenergy”.”

The account then went quiet for the day, until eight hours later, at around 6pm, it sent a second tweet announcing that Storey has sold his majority stake in Rich Energy in “disgust” at the shareholders’ behaviour.

“William Storey founder of @rich_energy has sold his majority stake in the legal entity of Rich Energy Ltd to a third party. This was in disgust at conduct of duplicitous minority stakeholders. In the words of @Schwarzenegger he’ll be back!#richenergy #F1 #nobull #williamstorey.”

At the time of writing, both tweets are still live.

The news comes only a day before Rich Energy is due to remove its stag’s head logo from all UK business assets, as per a copyright ruling by the UK High Court.

In May this year, Rich Energy was found liable of copyright infringement in a dispute with ATB Sales Limited, parent company of British bicycle manufacturer Whyte Bikes, which has an almost identical logo.

Among other penalties imposed by the High Court, Rich Energy was ordered to hand over details of all its financial transactions to date, including its sponsorship with Haas, by July 18.

Read this: Leaked documents appear to show Rich Energy has terminated Haas F1 deal