Former Haas F1 sponsor, Storey, ex-chief of Rich Energy, endeavors to acquire Reading FC.


Former Haas F1 sponsor, Storey, ex-chief of Rich Energy, endeavors to acquire Reading FC.

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William Storey, the outspoken founder of the short-lived former Haas Formula 1 team title sponsor, Rich Energy, is currently in the process of finalizing a £50 million acquisition of Reading Football Club. The Daily Telegraph has reported that Storey must now successfully pass the English Football League’s ‘fit and proper persons test’ before he can proceed with the acquisition. Reading, currently in the relegation zone after 11 games, faced a winding-up petition from HM Revenue & Customs in June. The club dropped out of the Championship last season after incurring a six-point penalty for violating the FL’s probability and sustainability regulations.

Storey, whose previous attempts to acquire Coventry City and Sunderland AFC (£45m) fell through, has reportedly reached an agreement on terms with the current owner, Yongge Dail. Dail, facing significant fan protests, is poised for this potential change in ownership. According to the Sunderland Echo, Storey asserted that he had the backing of ‘blue chip backers’ while formulating a bid for the North East club, but he did not disclose details about his wealth when asked.

Storey, who has recently shared feedback from Reading FC on Twitter, famously stated during the 2019 F1 season that the Rich Energy deal with Haas was terminated due to the team’s subpar performance. At that time, Haas occupied the ninth spot in the constructors’ championship, ahead only of Williams, whom Rich Energy had originally intended to sponsor. However, there was confusion when Rich Energy claimed the tweet originated from a ‘rogue individual,’ although the partnership with Haas was ultimately terminated.

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In a concise statement, Haas announced, ‘Haas F1 Team and Rich Energy have mutually agreed to terminate their partnership in the FIA Formula One World Championship with immediate effect.

While Rich Energy enjoyed significant brand recognition and exposure as the title partner of Haas F1 Team in 2019, a corporate restructuring at Rich Energy necessitates a reworked global strategy. As a result, both parties, Haas F1 Team and Rich Energy, determined that ending the existing partnership was the most advantageous course of action.

Haas F1 Team extends its gratitude and best wishes to the stakeholders at Rich Energy.’

A similar situation unfolded in 2020 when Rich Energy returned to racing with a ‘multi-million pound’ sponsorship deal with the OMG Racing British Superbikes team. Storey cited repeated breaches of good faith as the relationship deteriorated.

In 2022, Rich Energy sponsored BTC Racing in the British Touring Car Championship, with the agreement directly negotiated with Storey.

Additionally, the beverage company had a presence in two-wheeled motorsport last year as the title sponsor of the Rich Energy Ducati team, which competed in the Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup.


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