Mercedes are in a spot of bother with their latest sponsorship with Kingspan as a group has urged the F1 team to rethink of their partnership.

As if Toto Wolff did not have enough to worry about this week and next week, Mercedes as an F1 Team have come under fire for their latest sponsorship deal with the Irish Building supplies Company; Kingspan, part based in the UK but whose headquarters are based in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan, Ireland.

It’s a very sensitive matter but we will get to that. In short, Kingspan have become a sponsor of Mercedes which was announced earlier in the week. They will have its logos on the car for the last two events. They will also be involved in a “sustainability working group” within the Grand Prix team.

The issue with the sponsorship is due to the happenings in June 2017. There was a major fire in Grenfell Tower, West London, well documented is the fact that 72 people lost their lives. It was owed in part that insulation material installed around the Tower Block which included a Kingspan product combusted in the blaze and may have been a contributing factor to the tragedy in question.

A group representing those families who lost loved ones in the fire, Grenfell United, are very angry at the Kingspan Company. They claim that Kingspan had misinformed the safety qualities of their products used. And so, they have written to Mercedes and specifically Wolff advising of their anger and upset at the sponsorship deal in question and the letter (published on Twitter) has not held back either.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Housing in Britain also took to social media expressing his disappointment at Mercedes, also advising he would be writing to Mercedes, urging them to reconsider their decision. A lot of fans on social media has raised doubts likewise, especially noting Lewis Hamilton in the case – even though the deals are done by the team.

It does put Mercedes in an awkward position to say the least but if we look at sponsorship in motor racing, we seen sponsors of many different tobacco manufacturers, particularly throughout the halcyon days of the 1970s and 1980s. They eventually dropped those but the current era has seen sponsorship of alcohol companies and also cryptos.

This matter remains a sensitive subject and rightly so. Mercedes are caught between a rock and a hard place in a way. It might also be deemed that they are promoting a brand, they are not promoting what the products of Kingspan do or do not do.

UPDATE: Mercedes responded to the letter from Grenfell with Wolff talking about the deal with Kingspan. The Austrian clarified the company’s involvement and accepted the offer to meet the survivors and understand the thing better.

The story was written by Neil Farrell

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