SILVERSTONE, U.K -- The shareholders of Haas' title sponsor Rich Energy has reaffirmed their commitment to the American team and distanced itself from an announcement appearing to suggest its partnership had ended, which it said was the "rogue actions" of a lone individual.
On Wednesday evening, a tweet from Rich Energy's official account said the team was pulling its title sponsorship deal. Haas refuted that suggested on Thursday during the media day ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix, saying the deal was in place as normal.
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 attitude in @F1 is also inhibiting our business. We wish the team well #F1 #richenergy pic.twitter.com/9mAt2dOnYu— Rich Energy (@rich_energy) July 10, 2019
There have been suggestions of an internal struggle within the energy drinks company, with an Autosport report suggesting the original tweet had been written by CEO William Storey without the knowledge of Rich Energy's investors. Storey created headlines during the launch of the partnership when he claimed he wanted to beat energy drinks giant Red Bull on and off the F1 track.
After the original tweet was sent he told the Sun newspaper that he considered Haas car to be a "milk float" that was damaging the Rich Energy brand.
The company backtracked on the original tweet on Thursday afternoon in a statement from its main shareholders -- on this occasion, the statement was issued by Haas itself on behalf of its title sponsor, rather than via Rich Energy's social media.
The statement read: "The shareholders who own the majority of Rich Energy would like to clarify certain statements that have been circulated in the media from an unauthorised source.
"We wholeheartedly believe in the Haas F1 Team, its performance, and the organisation as a whole and we are fully committed to the current sponsorship agreement in place. We also completely believe in the product of Formula One and the platform it offers our brand.
"Clearly the rogue actions of one individual have caused great embarrassment. 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. The incident is very regrettable; we will not be making further comment on this commercially sensitive matter and will be concluding it behind closed doors.
"We wish to confirm our commitment to the Haas F1 Team, Formula One and to thank the Haas F1 Team for their support and patience whilst this matter is dealt with internally."