Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has defended its new partnership with a firm connected to the Grenfell Tower disaster, but has apologised for any hurt caused.
Mercedes announced a new sponsorship collaboration with Ireland-based building insultation firm Kingspan earlier this week.
The development prompted criticism from the Grenfell United group that represents the survivors and bereaved of the tragedy that unfolded in 2017.
Grenfell Tower was a high-rise tower block of flats in west London that caught fire in 2017, before rapidly spreading, resulting in 72 fatalities.
In an inquiry held since the tragedy Kingspan came in for criticism and it was determined that its products contributed to the rate and extent of the vertical fire spread.
Kingspan itself has supported the inquiry and outlined that its K15 product constituted only 5 per cent of the insultation and was used as a substitute product without its knowledge in a system that was not compliant with building regulations.
Responding to Grenfell United on Friday, Mercedes published a letter signed by Team Principal Wolff in which he outlined that the squad undertook due diligence but apologised for any unintended hurt.
The letter is available to read below:
“Dear Grenfell United,
“Thank you for your letter about our partnership with Kingspan, which I received yesterday. The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire was beyond imaginable to me, and it should never have happened.
“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.
“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.
“With my kind regards, Toto Wolff.”