Mercedes' boss Toto Wolff says the team are engaging in talks with Kingspan Insulation, after the announcement of the team's new sponsorship agreement with the company was met with dismay from a survivors' support group related to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. In 2017, the Grenfell Tower residential block caught fire and 72 people lost their lives in the inferno. Kingspan Insulation are linked to the tragedy through their products being in use in areas of the building and, in the wake of the Mercedes deal being made public, the Grenfell United survivors' group penned an open letter to the team urging them to cut their ties.
"We are looking at it urgently"
Wolff himself wrote an open letter in response to that and, over the Saudi Arabian GP weekend, reiterated his apology for the distress the announcement had caused. "There are so many questions," Wolff said when asked by media, including RacingNews365.com , about the agreement. "At that stage, what I've said in my letter is that I apologise for the pain that was caused by this announcement. "There's certainly a lot of learning for me, personally, and for the team. "What I want to say is that we've initiated a dialogue with some of the community of the bereaved families and survivors of the Grenfell tragedy to just better understand the pain that's caused - that process is just beginning. "We would like to wish for privacy while that's ongoing. We are looking at it with a matter of urgency."
Will the branding stay on the cars?
Ahead of the weekend beginning, Lewis Hamilton hinted that he wasn't pleased about the sponsorship decals appearing on his car . Given that there is now a contract in place between Mercedes and Kingspan, Wolff admitted that the discussions are about figuring out how best to proceed with their deal. "As I said, we are discussing that with the important people," he commented. "We will reach out to Kingspan and come up with the right solution. There is a contractual agreement that's behind these things and we want to just do the right thing with integrity. That's why I don't want to further comment at this stage." Pushed on whether he was regretting signing the deal with Kingspan, Wolff smiled and said: "We all develop and learn in our lives and this is clearly a situation that will make me improve in the future. "And my assessment, my decision-making, and... full stop. Everything I say more just puts me in a situation!"