Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One team is facing a furious backlash over a ‘disgusting’ sponsorship deal with a firm that made the combustible insulation used on Grenfell Tower.
Mercedes F1 last night named Kingspan as an official partner, with its branding set to feature on Hamilton’s car at this weekend’s Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove said he was ‘deeply disappointed’ and would be writing to Mercedes to reconsider, adding: ‘The Grenfell community deserves better.’
Mercedes F1 last night named Kingspan as an official partner, with its branding set to feature on Hamilton’s car at this weekend’s Saudi Arabia Grand Prix
Hamilton, the 7-time champion of the world, supports the Grenfell community
Kingspan produced some insulation for Grenfell’s refurbishment, which was set ablaze on June 14, 2017. 72 people were killed.
Lawyers for the bereaved and survivors have said the firm sold flammable materials they knew ‘were dangerous to life’.
Survivors’ group Grenfell United wrote to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, saying: ‘Kingspan played a central role in inflicting the pain and suffering that we feel today, and there must be a degree of public censure for Kingspan’s recklessness and carelessness for human life.’
The group called on him to ‘immediately sever’ ties with the firm.
Hamilton, the 7-time champion of the world, supports the Grenfell community.
On the third anniversary of the fire he posted online: ‘Remembering the 72 souls we lost and their loved ones, and everyone affected by this tragedy.’
The public inquiry into the blaze heard that the Kingspan product Kooltherm K15 used at Grenfell Tower by Kingspan was installed despite it not being designed for high-rise buildings.
The inquiry heard how a 2007 test became a ‘raging inferno’ and in October the company withdrew test reports for Kooltherm K15 that had been used to help sell the product since 2006. It had already been installed to more than 240 high buildings.
The inquiry also heard Kingspan executives dismissed customers’ concerns about fire safety, with a manager in one case saying: ‘[They]I am confused by someone who gives a dam [sic].’
Arconic’s aluminium cladding panels were responsible for the spread of Grenfell Fire. However, Kingspan insulation was a minor contributor to the fire.
Kingspan provided some insulation in Grenfell for the renovation, where 72 were lost.
Survivors’ group Grenfell United wrote to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff
Kingspan, whose materials are on most flats and houses, apologised for ‘process shortcomings’ between 2005 and 2015, saying the version of the product it tested was not the same as those it was selling.
But Nabil Choucair, who lost six members of his family, branded the sponsorship ‘disgusting’.
Mr Wolff said he was ‘delighted’ by the deal. Mercedes spokesmen later insisted that no drivers had been involved with sponsorship decisions.
They added: ‘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.’