Lewis Hamilton questions the maintenance of the Kingspan brand on his Mercedes car
Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton questioned on Saturday whether the brand of a company linked to the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 would remain on his Mercedes race car amid a backlash in Britain and called on his team to end the deal.
The partnership with Irish coating and insulation company Kingspan, some of whose products were used in the West London tower that caught fire and killed 72 people, was announced this week.
“This (deal) really has nothing to do with me and I know (team boss) Toto (Wolff) is sorting it out,” seven-time world champion Hamilton told reporters, after winning pole position for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. in Jeddah.
“Unfortunately, my name is associated with it because it’s written on my car, but we’ll see if that stays the same,” he added.
UK Housing Minister Michael Gove urged Mercedes to reconsider his decision, saying he was “deeply disappointed” that Mercedes was accepting Kingspan’s sponsorship while an investigation was underway.
Grenfell United, representing the families and survivors, also urged Mercedes to end the deal.
Wolff responded by letter on Friday apologizing for the distress caused and agreeing to a meeting.
Hamilton, the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time, said the controversy took him by surprise.
“It’s not something I feel I need to talk about publicly,” he said.
“I have nothing to do with the team that signed any of the sponsors, other than probably Tommy [Hilfiger] was the only one I brought to the team. It was news to me when I heard the things that happened this week.
“I was very aware and observed very closely all the families who were affected by what happened there and we know there was a huge outcry and incredible support from the people in the community around me. “
Kingspan said he had no role in the design of the Grenfell Tower cladding system, where his K15 product made up about 5% of the insulation.
He added that it “was used as a substitute without Kingspan’s knowledge in a system that did not comply with building regulations.”