Mercedes F1 Team Ends Sponsorship Deal With Company Tied to Deadly Grenfell Tower Fire

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One racing team officially ended its sponsorship deal with Kingspan, a building materials company with links to London's deadly Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

The team announced the deal last week, but families of some of the fire's victims protested the partnership.

The Grenfell Tower fire began in a refrigerator on the fourth floor and quickly climbed the high-rise, ultimately killing 72 people. Experts believe the blaze was spurred by flammable materials used in an exterior renovation of the tower.

Survivors of the fire and families of victims asked the racing team to end the deal after it was announced. Kingspan noted Wednesday that it was not involved in the renovation project.

"Our K15 insulation board was misused in this unsafe and non-compliant system," the company said in a statement. "We did not supply or recommend K15 to Grenfell Tower....It was substituted without our knowledge.''

Still, it agreed to end its partnership with the Mercedes-AMG team, saying in the statement that it was "deeply aware of the sensitivities raised in recent days'' because of the arrangement.

"So we have jointly agreed that it's not appropriate to move forward at the current point in time,'' Kingspan said.

The K15 product made up about 5 percent of the Grenfell Tower's insulation, ESPN reported.

The Mercedes team also confirmed in a tweet that the deal, which would have entailed Kingspan chairing a new "Sustainability Working Group" for the team to reduce carbon emissions, had been put on hold.

It said that "both parties have subsequently concluded that it is not appropriate for the partnership to move forward at the current point in time, notwithstanding its intended positive impact, and we have therefore agreed that it will be discontinued with immediate effect."

Mercedes F1 Team Ends Sponsorship Deal
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One racing team officially ended its sponsorship deal with Kingspan, a building materials company with links to London's deadly Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. Above, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates winning the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in front of second-place Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, in Jiddah on December 5, 2021. Hassan Ammar/AP Photo

The team announced the sponsorship deal last week that allowed the company to put its logo on the nose cone of world champion Lewis Hamilton's car beginning with a weekend race in Saudi Arabia.

Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff apologized to family members after they complained about the deal. He said last week that he hoped to meet with Grenfell Tower survivors as soon as possible.

Criticism of the deal was particularly difficult for Mercedes because Hamilton, a seven-time world champion from Stevenage, England, has been outspoken in his support of the Grenfell community. Hamilton is currently in second place in the Formula One driver's standings with one race left in the season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Grenfell Tower
The 2017 Grenfell Tower fire began in a refrigerator on the fourth floor and quickly climbed the high-rise, ultimately killing 72 people. Above, the Grenfell Tower four years after the fatal fire, on June 14, 2021, in London, England. Guy Smallman/Getty Images