July 11, 2019 / 4:17 PM / 5 days ago

Rich Energy shareholders 'fully committed' to Haas F1 team

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - Rich Energy shareholders said on Thursday they remained committed to the title sponsorship of the Haas Formula One team, a day after a post on Twitter had declared the contract terminated.

In a statement issued by the U.S.-owned team ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix, they said the comments had been made by an unauthorised source.

“Clearly the rogue actions of one individual have caused great embarrassment,” they said.

“We are in the process of legally removing the individual from all executive responsibilities. They may speak for themselves but their views are not those of the company,” they added.

The individual was not identified in the statement and nor were the shareholders.

The statement said Rich Energy ‘wholeheartedly’ believed in the team, their performance, the organisation as a whole and were also ‘fully committed’ to keeping the current sponsorship agreement in place.

Wednesday’s Tweet had declared: “Today @rich_energy terminated our contract with @HaasF1Team for poor performance. We aim to beat @redbullracing & being behind @WilliamsRacing in Austria is unacceptable.

“The politics and PC (political correctness) attitude in @F1 is also inhibiting our business. We wish the team well.”

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said the Twitter announcement had come as a surprise but Rich Energy was “currently the title partner” and the branding would be staying on the race cars and transporters this weekend.

“I would like to tell you more, I cannot,” he said, citing commercial confidentiality.

“There’s a commercial agreement in place and I don’t want to do anything here about it. This is what is happening and we go from there.”

Haas are ninth out of the 10 teams, albeit only six points behind sixth-placed Alfa Romeo.

Danish driver Kevin Magnussen qualified fifth in Austria, the race before Silverstone, but finished 19th after a grid drop and drive-through penalty.

In May Rich Energy lost a court case brought against it by Whyte Bikes for copyright infringement of its stag’s head logo, which has since been removed from the Formula One cars.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge

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