Haas’ new partnership with Rich Energy is the American squad’s “biggest deal” it has brokered so far in Formula 1, says team boss Guenther Steiner.

In the build-up to this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, Haas announced it had agreed a deal to sign the UK-based energy drinks brand as its new title sponsor from the 2019 season.

Rich Energy had been exploring possibilities to link up with a number of F1 teams and met with Haas representatives last Sunday in Austin, before terms were signed off just a matter of days later.

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“It’s our biggest deal up to now,” Steiner told Crash.net in an exclusive interview.

“I think it shows what we are doing here is recognised from people outside, because the first year is always difficult to get sponsors.

“First of all, you have to prove yourself, and then you get approached, but it’s for very low numbers because they think you are cheap. We decided not to do that.

“This came along, and we just found an agreement between the two of us, between the two companies. We started to talk with them, and it came along pretty quickly.”

There have been doubts in the paddock over Rich Energy’s ability to fund an F1 team following its failed buyout bid of Force India, and over how quickly the deal escalated with Haas.

But Steiner stressed the American squad is completely satisfied and believes the partnership highlights how far Haas has come over the past three years.

“We are happy about the partnership, and for sure, that is why they’re doing it, now they’ve got the exposure, they’ll get even more well-known. They will grow.”
 

Speaking to media in Mexico, Steiner added: “Now we are in three years the Haas F1 name is I think pretty well-established, I think everybody would agree to that.

“Now everyone knows what Haas F1 is which in the beginning it wouldn’t have been if we’d have another one in it.

“If a partner comes along which contributes enough to do something together as well, because this gives us opportunities, why not do it? I think it will help the team.”

The collaboration will also result in a “significant” livery overhaul for Haas when it is rebranded as Rich Energy Haas F1 team next year, with Rich Energy’s black and gold colours expected to feature on Haas’ 2019 cars.

Asked by Crash.net if the livery change was a big consideration when weighing up the deal, Steiner replied: “Absolutely, you have to think about it.

“But it’s Gene’s decision in the end how the car looks, and he was happy with it and for the future. That is why we signed.”

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