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Toto Wolff has released a statement offering his deepest apologises following criticism on behalf of the Mercedes team for signing a sponsorship deal with a company linked to the Grenfell Tower disaster. Ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Mercedes announced a deal with a company called Kingspan, a firm linked with the fateful insulation used on the west London tower.
The public inquiry into the fire is still currently ongoing after the blaze tore through the tower in June 2017, tragically killing 72 people.
Survivors spoke out after the deal was announced earlier in the week calling it “truly shocking,” with the government minister Michael Gove criticising the deal, adding he was “deeply disappointed”.
Mr. Gove tweeted: “Deeply disappointed that @MercedesAMGF1 are accepting sponsorship from cladding firm Kingspan while the Grenfell Inquiry is ongoing.
“I will be writing to Mercedes to ask them to reconsider. The Grenfell community deserves better.”
The letter from Grenfell United meanwhile read: “Kingspan played a central role in inflicting the pain and suffering that we feel today, and there must be a degree of public censure for Kingspan’s recklessness and carelessness for human life.”
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The Mercedes boss has apologised for the “additional hurt” that the deal has caused with an open letter Friday.
“The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire was beyond imaginable to me, and it should never happened,” said Wolff.
“On behalf of our team, I would sincerely like to apologise to you for the additional hurt that this announcement has caused. It was never our intention to do so.
“The work of the public inquiry to establish the full causes of the tragedy is crucially important. Prior to concluding our partnership, we engaged with Kingspan in-depth to understand what role their products played in what happened at Grenfell.
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“Kingspan have stated that they played no role in the design or construction of the cladding system on Grenfell Tower and that a small percentage of their product was used as a substitute without their knowledge in part of the system which was not compliant with building regulations and was unsafe.
“I know that this does not change in any way the awful tragedy you suffered, or the deep and ongoing pain felt in your community, and I would like to thank Grenfell United for the offer to meet in person for me to learn and understand better.
“I look forward to coming together as soon as we can.”
The Kingspan logo will feature on the Mercedes car for practice in Saudi Arabia ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Qualifying for the race gets underway at 5pm on Saturday under the floodlights with the race the following day at 5.30pm at the Jeddah Street Circuit.
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