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Motor racing-Mercedes and Kingspan end sponsorship deal amid Grenfell backlash - Metro US

Motor racing-Mercedes and Kingspan end sponsorship deal amid Grenfell backlash

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team logo is displayed at the launch of the INEOS Britannia America's Cup challenge in Brackley

(Corrects to make clear that Kingspan did not make the exterior cladding on Grenfell Tower)

DUBLIN (Reuters) -Insulation firm Kingspan and the Mercedes Formula One team have agreed to end a sponsorship deal, they said on Wednesday, amid a backlash about the Irish company’s link to Britain’s 2017 Grenfell Tower fire.

British Housing Minister Michael Gove and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire last week called for Lewis Hamilton’s team to reconsider a sponsorship deal due to Kingspan’s link to the 2017 London disaster.

The Grenfell fire killed 72 people, with combustible cladding used on the residential block identified as central to the rapid spread of flames.

Kingspan, whose branding features on the team’s cars, said that while its UK insulation business was a core participant in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, it did not supply or manufacture the panels identified as the main reason why the flames spread so rapidly and had no role in the refurbishment.

Kingspan has said its K15 product constituted approximately 5% of the insulation in the building and that it “was used as a substitute product without Kingspan’s knowledge in a system that was not compliant with the buildings regulations.”

“We are deeply aware of the sensitivities raised in recent days, and so we have jointly agreed that it’s not appropriate to move forward at the current point in time,” it said in a statement.

Mercedes, which did not mention Grenfell, said in a Twitter post https://twitter.com/MercedesAMGF1/status/1468536086528159747 that both sides had “concluded that it was not appropriate for the partnership to move forward.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had said last week that he would meet survivors of the fire after apologising on behalf of his team for any distress caused by the sponsorship deal.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Rohith Nair)

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