'Deeply disrespectful': Mercedes F1 team sign deal with firm linked to Grenfell Tower tragedy

3 December 2021, 11:28

Grenfell United said news of the deal had "shattered" them.
Grenfell United said news of the deal had "shattered" them. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Formula 1 team Mercedes has been criticised and branded "deeply disrespectful" after signing a deal with a firm linked to the Grenfell Tower insulation.

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The F1 team signed a deal with Kingspan, a company who made a small amount of the insulation used in the cladding on the tower block.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, called the move "deeply disappointing" whilst labours shadow secretary Lisa Nandy said she hopes Lewis Hamilton - who drives for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team - is making his views "clearly known".

Mr Gove pledged to write to the Mercedes team to ask it to reconsider the deal adding that "the Grenfell community deserves better."

While Lisa Nandy, Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, said the partnership is "deeply disrespectful" to those who lost everything four years ago.

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Kingspan's K15 insulation was one of the products installed on Grenfell Tower during its refurbishment, although the majority of the insulation used on the west London tower block was made by another company.

An inquiry is examining how Grenfell Tower came to be coated in flammable materials which contributed to the spread of flames which shot up the tower in June 2017, killing 72 people.

Survivors of the tragedy said the news had "shattered" them, branding Kingspan as having "no remorse or responsibility".

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Taking to Twitter, the Grenfell United group posted a copy of a letter they had sent to Mercedes F1 team, adding: "This news has shattered us.

"Kingspan is rotten to the core 'little better than crooks & killers'.

"No remorse, or responsibility for the murder of our 72.

"Only greed & recklessness for human life."

Asking about the partnership on LBC this morning, Chairman of the Conservative Party, Oliver Dowden said: "I think Mercedes need to think carefully about their sponsor and if that is the case that the company concerned is culpable in that way, then of course they should think very carefully about whether [Kingspan] are inappropriate sponsors for them.

"Just as they think carefully about tobacco companies and others."

A spokesman for the Mercedes team said on Thursday: "Our partner Kingspan has supported, and continues to support, the vitally important work of the inquiry to determine what went wrong and why in the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

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"Our new partnership announced this week is centred on sustainability and will support us in achieving our targets in this area."

Kingspan said in a statement: "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 on Grenfell Tower, where its K15 product constituted approximately 5% of the insulation and was used as a substitute product without Kingspan's knowledge in a system that was not compliant with the building's regulations.

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