Survivors and relatives of the Grenfell fire victims have asked Mercedes team manager Toto Wolff to separate from their new sponsor Kingspan, a building materials manufacturer.
Kingspan has produced some of the insulation used to renovate a social housing development project at Grenfell Tower in London, which caught fire in 2017, killing 72 people. Investigations showed that Kingspan continued to provide insulation for the tower’s renovation despite realizing that its product was not fire safe.
Mercedes this week published the news that it had signed a sponsorship agreement with Kingspan, and that has gone viral with survivors and relatives of the Grenfell fire victims. According to the British daily The Guardian, they sent Toto Wolff a letter asking them to break off the relationship with Kingspan.
The letter states that Kingspan plays a major role in the pain and suffering victims feel today. They also believe that there should be a public outcry at Kingspan’s recklessness and carelessness in dealing with human lives.
Michael Gove, the UK’s Minister for Housing, Neighborhoods and Local Affairs, also expressed his disappointment at Mercedes on Twitter.
“I am deeply disappointed that @MercedesAMGF1 is accepting sponsorship from Kingspan livery while the Grenfell investigation is still ongoing. I will be writing to Mercedes asking them to reconsider. The Grenfell community deserves better.”
ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MercedesAMGF1 accepts sponsorship from cladding company Kingspan during Grenfell Inquiry. I will write to Mercedes to ask them to reconsider. The Greenville community deserves the best. https://t.co/O9RThVXUuX– Michael Gove (@michaelgove) December 2, 2021
Meanwhile, Mercedes responded with a message from Toto Wolff on Twitter apologizing to the victims of the Grenfell tragedy. He said there was no intention of hurting people further and that the deal with Kingspan was a well-thought-out choice.
He goes on to say that according to the investigation, Kingspan’s share of the materials used in the apartment tower was minimal, but he understands that this does not change the tragedy that the Grenfell community has been through.
In conclusion, he thanks Grenfell United for giving him the opportunity to meet in person so that he can understand everything better.
href = “https://t.co/OcczmEP4yA” > pic.twitter.com/OcczmEP4yA— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@mercedesAMGF1) December 3, 2021
Mercedes driver and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has shown his support for the Grenfell community on a number of occasions, including by tweeting in memory of the disaster.