Haas Formula 1 team boss Guenther Steiner insists the US squad’s reputation has not been damaged by the saga involving its title sponsor Rich Energy.

The British-based energy drinks firm was forced to reaffirm its commitment to Haas after a “regrettable” incident in which a “rogue” individual claimed via Rich Energy’s official Twitter account that it had terminated its sponsorship deal with the team on the eve of the British Grand Prix.

It has since emerged that Rich Energy has failed to pay the legal costs it owes Whyte Bikes following its court defeat for copying the bike company's stag logo. Earlier in the weekend, Steiner said he was keen to avoid engaging in a “war of words” against its title partner.

“How can you damage something if we don’t do anything wrong,” Steiner said when asked if he felt Haas’ reputation had been damaged. “You can think you are damaged but I don’t think we are damaged. It’s not our fight.

“There is a clear line between them paying us for advertising and us doing our job. So I don’t think we are damaged as a team because we as an integral company, Haas as an integral company, have done nothing wrong.

“We have not done anything wrong, we have done everything by the book, so actually it gives us a good reputation because we didn’t react because we cannot.

“I think we are in a good position and we have showed the world that, even with controversy outside of us, we are not doing things that we shouldn’t be doing.

“We work professionally and keep out of things we cannot control and are not entitled to control. So we just go along and whatever happens, happens.”

Steiner said Haas is in discussions with Rich Energy about how to move forward, after it emerged that Rich Energy shareholders are attempting to oust current CEO William Storey, who is understood to have behind the string of recent social media posts on Twitter.

“We are discussing now with them,” Steiner explained. “As you can imagine, we are not in control of what they do internally and neither do we want to be!

“They are sorting out what happens there and then the team that wants to take over, they want to continue, and that is what we are talking about in the next weeks: how do we continue with them?

“They know they need to agree between them before we go forward. I have no comment and no knowledge of what is going on there and I do not need to know.”

 

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