Haas defends Rich Energy's aim of beating Red Bull in Formula 1

Haas insists new title sponsor Rich Energy is right to target beating Formula 1 rival Red Bull on and off the track

Haas defends Rich Energy's aim of beating Red Bull in Formula 1

Rich Energy CEO William Storey raised some eyebrows at Haas's 2019 launch on Thursday when he suggested the aim was to "challenge" Red Bull both on circuit and in the business world.

Rather than dismissing the thought of taking on one of F1's top teams as a pipe dream, Haas team principal Gunther Steiner argued it was correct to have lofty ambitions.

"You have to try hard," said Steiner, when asked by Autosport about the Red Bull aim. "If you have no target, you never achieve anything.

"Off track I don't know, William can speak better about that than me, because I am not an expert in energy drinks. But sure it is an ambition.

"They [Red Bull] are good in racing. But you never know. Last year I think we had the fourth fastest car, and we finished fifth. So the next one up [on pace] was Red Bull. We can try.

"If we achieve it or not I don't know, but if you don't try then for sure you don't achieve it. Why would you do it if you don't put your target high?"

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen agreed with his boss that being ambitious was nothing to be ashamed of.

"I think it's great to have big ambition," he said.

"You hear William say he wants to take on Red Bull. He started a company that will be in direct competition outside of Formula 1 so you need to have this kind of ambition to succeed.

There's nothing wrong with that at all."

But Magnussen warned against believing Haas would have a realistic chance of overhauling Red Bull immediately.

"I doubt it'll be this year, but no one knows what the future holds," he said.

TECHNICAL ANALYSIS: What Haas tells us about 2019 F1 trends

"There are regulation changes and maybe budget caps, so who knows what can happen?

"You can't say what's possible at the moment but if you don't believe in it, for sure it won't happen."

Steiner said that Red Bull's switch to Honda had at least opened up some uncertainty about its potential in 2019.

"It is difficult to say because Honda will get better," he said. "They got better every year and they will get better again. And for sure Red Bull will help them to get better.

"They are a good team, they are always there or thereabouts, so if they can steer in the right direction then that will help.

"Honda had a little bit of reliability issues last year, so let's see what is coming this year.

"I don't push anybody back, but if we are better I am happy. It can go both ways. There is an opportunity."

Although Rich Energy has faced sceptics since it first announced the Haas title sponsorship deal, Storey is adamant his company can be a game-changer in taking on Red Bull.

"I think we have already beaten them: we have a better looking car. That is just a bit biased there!" he said.

"We are expanding very quickly, we are taking a huge amount of business from them.

"Some of the biggest drinks distributors in Europe are delisting Red Bull now, and I think our results will start to speak for themselves. F1 is a wonderful platform for us.

"We are with the best run team in my opinion and, equally importantly, lovely people.

"We are delighted to work with Haas and want to do it on a very long term basis."

Asked if his goal was to unnerve Red Bull, Storey said: "No, not at all. I think Red Bull is a brilliantly run business.

"Dietrich Mateschitz is a very clever guy. He has created a category in 1987, and we just feel that we have a better product and a better brand.

"We feel that there is a little bit of apathy and hubris in the market place and we think that we have a real opportunity to beat them off the track."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Red Bull Racing , Haas F1 Team
Author Jonathan Noble
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