Mercedes ‘end controversial sponsorship deal’ with Grenfell insulation firm

The Mercedes F1 Team has reportedly ended its partnership with Kingspan just days after it was announced following an outcry over the insulation firm's links to the Grenfell Tower fire.

The deal was made public last week and the company's logo appeared on Mercedes' cars for the first time at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

However, it provoked a strong response from members of the public and politicians alike after a survivors' group pointed out Kingspan's links to the 2017 disaster which killed 72 people.

Grenfell United, which supports survivors and bereft families of the fire, accused Kingspan of providing the insulation which helped the blaze spread more quickly at the London tower block.

It also called on Mercedes to "immediately" end the partnership, while cabinet minister Michael Gove also sent a public message to the team with a similar request.

Kingspan has denied any prior knowledge that some of their product had been used in the tower's cladding system.

Mercedes chief executive Toto Wolff had repeated that claim in his response to Grenfell United last week, while also apologising and agreeing to an in-person meeting to discuss the issue further.

After several days of talks with both survivors and government officials, the Daily Mail reports Mercedes has now cut ties with its newest corporate sponsor.

The team had billed the deal as a sustainability partnership when announcing it, and will now lose out on the reported £4m per year it stood to gain.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had hinted that there was something happening in the background when he told reporters that his boss Wolff was "sorting it".

Hamilton added he had little to do with the team's sponsorship decisions as the only one he had brought in personally was clothing brand Tommy Hilfiger, and distanced himself from the controversy.

"Tommy was the only one I brought to the team. It was news to me when I heard the things that happened this week," the seven-time world champion said.

"It was news to me when I heard the things that happened this week. I was very much aware and watching very closely all the families that were affected by what happened there.

"We know there has been a huge outcry and an amazing amount of support from people, from the community around there. So as I said, this really doesn’t have anything to do with me.

"I know Toto is sorting it. Unfortunately my name is associated with it because it’s put on that car. But whether that remains the same, we shall see."

In a statement on December 3, Kingspan said: "The Grenfell Tower fire was a tragedy that should never have happened, and Kingspan supports the vitally important work of the Inquiry to determine what went wrong and why.

"Kingspan played no role in the design of the cladding system used on Grenfell Tower, where its K15 product constituted approximately five per cent of the insulation purchased for use. It was used as a substitute product without Kingspan’s knowledge in a system that was not compliant with the buildings regulations.

"The new partnership with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team reflects the ambitious sustainability targets of both organisations."

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