Mercedes may reassess Kingspan F1 deal after backlash
The German manufacturer announced ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that it had signed a partnership with the international company, and Kingspan’s logos appeared on the nose of the W12 in Jeddah.
However, the merger sparked a wave of controversy over Kingspan’s involvement in the Grenfell fire in 2017 which left 72 people dead.
Kingspan’s insulation was one of the products used on the exterior of the North Kensington building, and its role in the tragedy is the subject of a public inquiry.
The Grenfell United pressure group, made up of survivors and bereaved family members, has written to Wolff to express disgust at the Kingspan sponsorship deal. In his response, Wolff said he would be prepared to meet with them to better understand the situation.
UK Government Minister Michael Gove then weighed in on the issue in an open letter to Wolff posted on Twitter, urging him to reconsider the deal and warning him that the UK government could change motorsport advertising rules, such was his anger at the situation.
World champion Lewis Hamilton made it clear after qualifying that he had no prior knowledge of the ongoing deal.
When asked if reassessing the deal was a realistic possibility, Wolff said: “We have discussed this with the important people as well, and we will contact Kingspan and find the right solution.
“There’s a contractual agreement that’s behind these things, and we just want to do the right thing with integrity. And that’s why I don’t want to comment further.
Mercedes wore the Kingspan logos on its nose in front of the wheel
Photo By: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
Wolff said the experience of the past few days has taught him some big lessons, with the scale of the backlash against Kingspan’s deal appearing to have taken hold of both him and his team.
“There is definitely a lot of learning for me personally and for the team,” he said.
“But what I mean is that we have entered into a dialogue with part of the bereaved family community and survivors of the Grenfell tragedy to better understand the pain it has caused. And this process has only just begun.
“But we would like to seek confidentiality while this continues. And we are looking at it urgently.
Asked if he regretted making the deal knowing now what the answer would be, Wolff said: “We all grow and learn in our lives, and this is clearly a situation that will make me improve. in the future.
“My assessment, my decision making and… period. Anything more that I say just puts me in a position.