Mercedes has announced it and Kingspan have mutually agreed to end their sponsorship agreement which attracted controversy when it was announced one week ago.
The deal was announced one week ago and Kingspan’s logos appeared on the nose of the W12s throughout the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend. However it prompted criticism over Kingspan’s connection to the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people lost their lives. An inquiry over the disaster is ongoing.
Grenfell United, a group which represents the bereaved and surviving families of the tower, criticised the deal as “truly shocking” when it was announced. After they received an apology from Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, the UK government added to the pressure on the F1 team to sever its ties to the company, indicating it could revise areas of sponsorship law.
Kingspan was to chair a Sustainability Working Group within the team to reduce carbon emissions from the team’s future base. In their statement confirming the termination of the deal, Kingspan revealed they were originally approached by Mercedes to lead the body.
The building materials company stated it did not supply or recommend its products which were used on the tower. It condemned the “wholly unacceptable historical conduct and emails” found during the inquiry which involved “a small group of employees at our Kingspan Insulation UK business” which “in no way reflects Kingspan’s culture or values”.
Grenfell United immediately welcomed the termination of the deal. “We are pleased to hear this morning’s news that Mercedes have terminated their sponsorship deal with Kingspan with immediate effect,” the group said in a statement.
“We met with Toto Wolff and provided him and his team with the facts of Kingspan’s involvement in Grenfell, and Mercedes have done the right thing by dissociating themselves from Kingspan. This hopefully sends a clear message that people must be put before profit.
“Most importantly, we would like to thank every single one of you that supported us and continued to push our message out publicly. It clearly shows that things can be achieved through a unified effort.
“We hope this sets a precedent and others will rethink their relationships with the likes of Arconic, Celotex and Rydon of which the Grenfell Inquiry has uncovered crippling evidence. With justice still so far away, it’s these small steps that encourage us to keep fighting.”
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