LONDON (AP) — Building materials maker Kingspan says it has agreed with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One racing team to end a partnership deal after protests from families of people who died in a high-rise fire in London.
The company said in a statement that it was “ deeply aware of the sensitivities raised in recent days’’ by the deal. “So we have jointly agreed that it’s not appropriate to move forward at the current point in time,’’ Kingspan said.
The team announced a sponsorship deal last week to allow Kingspan that allowed the company to put its logo on the nose cone of world champion Lewis Hamilton’s car beginning with a weekend race in Saudi Arabia.
Survivors and family members of the 72 people who died in the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire had asked the team to sever its ties with Kingspan. The fire started in a fourth floor refrigerator and raced up the residential building, which experts said likely was caused by flammable materials used in an exterior renovation.
Kingspan reiterated Wednesday that it had nothing to do with the refurbishment project blamed for the fire, though its insulation was used without its knowledge.
Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff apologized to family members after they complained. He said in a statement last week that he hoped to meet with Grenfell Tower survivors as soon as possible.
Criticism of the deal was particularly difficult for Mercedes because Hamilton, a seven-time world champion from Stevenage, England, has been outspoken in his support of the Grenfell community. Hamilton is currently in second place in the Formula One driver’s standings with two races left in the season.
The Associated Press