F1 Book Review: Racing With Rich Energy

Romain Grosjean of France and Haas Rich Energy F1 Team driver goes during the practice session at Hungarian Rolex Formula 1 Grand Prix on Aug 2, 2019 in Mogyoród, Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Robert Szaniszló/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Authors Elizabeth Blackstock and Alanis King recently published a book about Rich Energy’s time as a Formula 1 sponsor. The book is the standard for motorsport sponsor scandal deep dives.

Haas F1 announced its partnership with Rich Energy on October 28th, 2018. Both parties went their separate ways just 11 months later following an odd storm of tweets from Rich Energy’s account.

Months before the end of their partnership, Jalopnik released a feature story about the inner workings of Rich Energy. The authors of the piece were Elizabeth Blackstock and Alanis King, detailing all of the inconsistencies found within Rich Energy as a company and a product.

After the subsequent split between Haas and Rich Energy, the authors of the piece shifted their focus to why the sponsorship collapsed and investigated the flamboyant CEO of Rich Energy, William Storley. Their investigation resulted in a book titled Racing with Rich Energy, a collection of interviews and research about how a man with almost no real money became the title sponsor of a Formula 1 team.

Rich History

One of the book’s strengths is how well-researched it is. The authors reached out to multiple former Haas employees, the CEO of Rich Energy, William Storley, and many media personalities to provide the necessary context.

The book tries to figure out who William Storley is and how he came to own Rich Energy. Many people played a role in the company’s starting, but most refrained from commenting on the book. As a workaround, the authors did multiple deep dives into social media pages and attempted to piece together what the company looked like from the inside.

Rich Energy was more bark than bite, having many fewer employees than they proclaimed and a lot less money. This made the information-gathering process very difficult, but the authors still uncovered much about Storley’s background and the structure of Rich Energy’s odd marketing program.

The amount of information they compiled makes this one of the most researched motorsport books. It is jam-packed with tidbits from one of the most dysfunctional companies to enter F1, all adding to the most critical question of how they were allowed to join in the first place.

A Refreshing Twist

Rather than simply reading a long list of facts, the authors add witty notes about their attempts to get information and brilliantly tie together side plots. The book provides twists and turns throughout history, similar to a portal spawning the reader into various points in the timeline.

Weaving through events in a 200-page book seems ambitious, but the authors connect the narrative well. There are callbacks to previous shady dealers within Formula 1 and subsequent similarities to the Rich Energy scandal. The flow of information requires attention to detail to avoid missing out on an interesting tidbit or funny dealing. Still, the reader is rewarded with an encyclopedia-like index of William Storley and Rich Energy.

The book does try to make light of how a circus Rich Energy was. The chapter titles are all puns, establishing the general light-hearted nature of the book. The authors found context or information nullified the bombastic claims made by Storley. Each time the book establishes a claim and, piece by piece disarms what Storley or Rich Energy said. The build-up to the claims makes the tower of lies falling all the sweeter.

Rich Energy was a house of cards, and the cards did come crumbling down. William Storley was at the epicenter of that tower of cards. The authors use Sherlock Holmes style-wit as Storley and Haas (to an extent) try to wiggle their way out.

The Greatest Story Ever Told

By the end of the book, it is clear that both writers are experts on anything related to Storley or the company. They spent countless hours reaching out for comments and weaving through social media breadcrumbs for anything related to Rich Energy. Some would argue it is far more than anyone should dedicate to the matter, but I beg to differ.

The book reads like a brilliant long forum feature piece written by two experts that you cannot put down. The information is thorough and ties up nicely, leaving the reader as much the expert on the scandal. The book does well to capture every angle of the sponsorship scandal, making it a go-to resource to learn more about William Storley and his friends.

It might be odd that the book was released right around Haas announcing its second title sponsor since the Rich Energy Haas era, but it serves as a lovely marker for just how far the sport of Formula 1 has come. At one point, they were desperate enough to allow William Storley a platform with only 581 pounds to his name.

To buy Racing with Rich Energy visit https://www.richenergybook.com.

Featured Image Credit: Robert Szaniszló/NurPhoto via Getty Images


More Posts

Send Us A Message