Mercedes ‘cancel sponsorship deal with Grenfell firm’ following intense backlash

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Mercedes have reportedly cancelled their controversial sponsorship deal with Kingspan following intense backlash. Toto Wolff recently apologised for the ‘additional hurt’ the deal has caused Grenfell Tower survivors and victims’ families.

The decision to end the £4million-a-year deal comes just days before Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will battle for the F1 championship with Max Verstappen in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

The company’s logo appeared on Hamilton’s Mercedes car for the first time at the Saudi Arabia GP over the weekend.

Hamilton attempted to distance himself from the deal last week by insisting he was ‘unaware’ of the link-up and claiming it had ‘nothing to do with me’ after Mercedes were severely criticised by the public and politicians.

Some of the firm’s insulation was used on Grenfell Tower – something the firm denied knowledge of after the block went up in flames in 2017, killing 72 people.

The Daily Mail claim Mercedes have now cut ties with the company and will remove their branding from Hamilton’s car ahead of this weekend’s title decider. An official announcement is expected to happen on Wednesday.

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The report states that the decision to terminate their agreement was a mutual one, with both companies feeling it was inappropriate to continue their relationship while the inquiry into the tragedy was ongoing and given the fierce criticism their deal had been met with.

Express Sport has contacted Mercedes for comment.

Grenfell Tower survivors spoke out after the deal was announced last month, calling it “truly shocking,” while the government minister Michael Gove admitted he was “deeply disappointed”.

Mr. Gove tweeted: “Deeply disappointed that @MercedesAMGF1 are accepting sponsorship from cladding firm Kingspan while the Grenfell Inquiry is ongoing

“I will be writing to Mercedes to ask them to reconsider. The Grenfell community deserves better.”

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff issued an open letter to apologise to Grenfell Tower survivors last week.

“The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire was beyond imaginable to me, and it should never happened,” said Wolff.

“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.

“The work of the public inquiry to establish the full causes of the tragedy is crucially important. Prior to concluding our partnership, we engaged with Kingspan in-depth to understand what role their products played in what happened at Grenfell.

“Kingspan have stated that they played no role in the design or construction of the cladding system on Grenfell Tower and that a small percentage of their product was used as a substitute without their knowledge in part of the system which was not compliant with building regulations and was unsafe.

“I know that this does not change in any way the awful tragedy you suffered, or the deep and ongoing pain felt in your community, and I would like to thank Grenfell United for the offer to meet in person for me to learn and understand better.

“I look forward to coming together as soon as we can.”

Mercedes driver Hamilton will hope to claim a record eighth world championship title on Sunday when he heads into the season finale in Abu Dhabi locked on 369.5 points with rival Verstappen.

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