Lewis Hamilton distances himself from Mercedes’ new controversial sponsor Kingspan amid firm’s alleged links with the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, as survivors’ group describes the deal as ‘truly shocking’
- Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton spoke of ‘unfortunate association’ with the company
- Kingspan logos can be seen on front of Mercedes cars for the Saudi Arabian GP
- The branding on Hamilton’s car is a deal believed to be worth up to £3million
- But government plans could see them removed for the British Grand Prix in 2022
- The Grenfell Tower fire tragically killed 72 people back in June 2017
Lewis Hamilton has reluctantly distanced himself from Mercedes’ sponsorship deal with Kingspan, a firm that made combustible insulation for Grenfell Tower.
The world champion, who claimed pole position for Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix only because his rival Max Verstappen drove into a wall when on the verge of setting the fastest lap, at first said nothing to apologise to the families of the 72 people killed in the disaster.
The Monaco-based driver shook his head as if fed up with the subject before relenting when later pressed on the matter.
Kingspan’s links in the fire of June 2017 is the subject of a public inquiry – yet Hamilton is driving around Jeddah’s road circuit with the firm’s branding on his car in a deal believed to be worth up to £3million.
Hamilton, who took pole for Sunday’s race, said: ‘It is not something that I feel I have to speak about publicly.
Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton has spoken about his ‘unfortunate association’ with Kingspan
Company’s logo can be seen at the front of Mercedes’ grand prix cars at the Saudi Arabian GP
‘I had nothing to do with the team signing any of the sponsors. Tommy (Hilfiger) was the only one I probably brought to the team.
‘It was news to me when I heard this week. I was very aware and watching closely all the families affected by what happened there.
‘We know there has been a huge outcry and an amazing amount of support by people in the community.
‘It is really nothing to do with me and I know Toto (Wolff, the team principal) is sorting it. Unfortunately my name is associated with it because it has been on my car, but whether that remains the same, we will see.’
Kingspan’s links in the Grenfell Tower fire of June 2017 is the subject of a public inquiry
But Mercedes may see the advert banned at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2022
Hamilton’s belated concern comes after Mercedes’ repeated insistence that Kingspan will remain on their cars this weekend, despite survivors’ group Grenfell United describing the deal as ‘truly shocking’ and demanding its immediate withdrawal.
Mercedes may yet be backed into a U-turn not least with Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, indicating the Government are looking whether to ban the advert from running at Silverstone during next year’s British Grand Prix.
Wolff has written to Grenfell United to apologise for the ‘additional hurt’ the arrangement has caused.
Lawyers for the bereaved families have said Kingspan sold flammable materials that they knew ‘were dangerous to life’, though the firm was not primarily responsible for the fire.
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