Backlash in UK over Mercedes F1 team’s deal with Irish company Kingspan due to Grenfell link

Ministers in the UK could intervene after the Mercedes Formula One team signed a sponsorship deal with the Irish insulation firm linked to Grenfell Tower, British communities secretary Michael Gove has warned.

n a letter to Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team principal Toto Wolff, Mr Gove said the UK government could amend advertising rules on racing cars if he does not pull the partnership with Kingspan.

Advertising in sporting arenas and on vehicles is currently excluded from controls by Mr Gove’s department.

“My cabinet colleagues and I will keep this system under constant and close review to ensure that the advertising regime remains fit for purpose and reflects the public interest,” Mr Gove said.

“The achievements of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton represent a British success story of which we are all proud. I hope you will reconsider this commercial partnership which threatens to undermine all the good work the company has done.”

Mr Wolff has apologised to Grenfell survivors and bereaved relatives, and thanked campaign group Grenfell United for their offer to meet following their condemnation of the deal with the Co Cavan company.

Responding to them in a letter, Mr Wolff wrote: “The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire was beyond imaginable to me, and it should never have happened.

“On behalf of our team, I would sincerely like to apologise to you for the additional hurt that this announcement has caused. It was never our intention to do so.”

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.

Kingspan said in a statement:

“Kingspan played no role in the design of the cladding system on Grenfell Tower, where its K15 product constituted approximately 5pc 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.

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