Dhe Formula 1 world championship team Mercedes is exposed to loud criticism from British society and politics because of a controversial sponsorship deal. Mercedes sports director Toto Wolff apologized Friday for “added pain” to the families of victims of a London high-rise fire after the team signed a contract with a company linked to the disaster.
The British Housing Minister Michael Gove and survivor of the fire in Grenfell Tower in 2017, in which 72 people died, criticized the racing team for the deal concluded a few days ago with the company Kingspan, whose company logo was displayed on Friday during free practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this Sunday (6.30 p.m. CET in the FAZ live ticker for Formula 1, on RTL and Sky) on the racing cars of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. The Irish company Kingspan makes insulation and cladding products.
Gove wrote on Twitter that he was “deeply disappointed” that Mercedes had closed the deal with Kingspan while the investigation into the house fire was ongoing. “I will write to Mercedes and ask them to reconsider their decision. The Grenfell community deserves better, ”wrote Gove. The survivors group Grenfell United described the partnership in a Twitter post as “really shocking”.
In an open letter to the relatives, Wolff wrote: “The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire was unimaginable for me, and it should never have happened. On behalf of our team, I would like to sincerely apologize to you for the additional pain this announcement has caused. It was never our intention to do this. “
“The work of the public inquiry to determine the full causes of the tragedy is vital,” said Wolff. “Before we entered into our partnership, we studied with Kingspan to understand the role their products played in the events in Grenfell to have.”
Kingspan stated that “they played no part in the design or construction of the cladding system at Grenfell Tower and that a small percentage of their product was used, without their knowledge, to replace part of the system that was non-compliant and unsafe” , so Wolff.