What on earth led Mercedes F1 to contemplate even to agree a sponsorship deal with Kingspan is beyond logical comprehension. If you need reminding, Kingspan is a building materials company that supplied some of the insulation used in the Grenfell Tower fire. The block of flats, located in Kensington, West London was the scene of a horrific inferno in 2017, 72 people perished due to the highly flammable insulation used to clad the exterior. Kingspan manipulated test data to ensure their insulation passed mandatory safety tests.
For Mercedes to consider sponsorship blood money from Kingspan is deeply troubling. From a business perspective, the sponsorship deal was announced at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Obviously, Kingspan was seeking to tap into the lucrative Saudi construction industry. Because of its notorious association with Grenfell Tower, Kingspan has many questions yet to answer.
And so to does Mercedes. Why did Mercedes F1 sign the deal with Kingspan? It’s a complete mystery but it demonstrated a pathological lack of sympathy and empathy for the victims who perished at the hands of profiteering. And it was a slap in the face to the families who lost homes and loved ones in the tradegy.
For Sir Lewis Hamilton to say that he was not responsible for the sponsorship deal, is true. But he does own it, for he is the public face of the Mercedes F1 business entity. He should have condemned the deal outright, because what has he got to lose? If he put pressure on Mercedes behind the scenes he should have dropped any caution and put public pressure on his team.
After all, Hamilton was vocal about Saudi human rights abuses, but no mention about the human rights for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. As of today, Mercedes F1 has ended the Kingspan sponsorship deal, but it should never have been considered in the first place.
The Grenfell Tower survivors group, Grenfell United published a statement Twitter in response: “Mercedes have done the right thing by dissociating themselves from Kingspan”.