The 2022 Formula 1 season opener is here, and as expected, Rich Energy have nothing to do with it, despite having hyped up their “return”.
Free practice for the 2022 Formula 1 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit got underway yesterday, and qualifying is set for later today ahead of tomorrow’s race.
All 10 teams participated in yesterday’s practice sessions around the 15-turn, 3.363-mile (5.412-kilometer) course in Sakhir, Bahrain.
Notably, these 10 teams are the same 10 teams that tested at the track last week and that tested at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last month.
Not counted among those 10 teams? Rich Energy or any Rich Energy-affiliated organization.
This is something that does not come as an unexpected development — at all — to anybody who has followed the brand in recent years, specifically after their ill-fated tenure as the title sponsor of Haas ended during the summer of 2019 following a bizarre yet somewhat comical sequence of events.
Nevertheless, their absence, which was going to be an absence all along, follows a considerable amount of entertainment surrounding a potential “Chapter 2” from a “return”, courtesy of founder and CEO William Storey.
Before the 2021 season, Storey, who is also said to serve as the CEO of Wolf Data Systems and the managing director of Wolf Jerky (#FeedTheWolf) hyped up Rich Energy’s return for 2021, stating that since the troubles of 2019, he had led a global renaissance of the brand and that Formula 1 fans were about to see the “greatest comeback since Lazarus”.
Given the brand’s past, many remained skeptical, especially when his preseason videos revealed absolutely no details whatsoever about this alleged return.
Sure enough, just before the 2021 season when it was obvious that the former Haas title sponsor had nothing to do with the sport, he stated that the return would be coming in 2022 instead.
On more than one occasion, he stated that he couldn’t wait to announce the team with which his brand had signed as title sponsor for 2022.
So naturally, as the 2021 season progressed, he again began hyping up the return. He shared multiple photos of a Rich Energy 2022 concept car and added the promise of the introduction of the “Rich Energy F1 Fanzone”.
That “Fanzone”, which was launched late in the season, albeit several days after the original planned launch date, turned out to be…well, we still don’t really know.
When it became even more blatantly obvious that this was, once again, a nothingburger, Storey took to Twitter to claim that other teams were blocking Rich Energy’s return, stating that this was now “a matter for lawyers” and that “legal analysis is pending”.
He has since referred to Rich Energy as a “billion dollar brand” and indicated that the “return” is still going to happen once given the “green light”.
We expect that trend to continue.
It should come as absolutely no surprise to anybody if they immediately begin promoting a 2023 return once the 2022 season gets underway, perhaps calling it the “greatest comeback since Tom Brady” , and it would surprise absolutely nobody when, once again, literally nothing happens.
Tune in to ESPN at 11:00 a.m. ET tomorrow morning for the live broadcast of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit, featuring all 10 legitimate teams in the paddock. Begin your free trial of FuboTV today!