UK could change sponsorship laws amid Kingspan Mercedes F1 deal anger

Mercedes has been warned that the British government could change advertising and sponsorship laws for sports like Formula 1 amid unease about the team’s new partnership with insulation firm Kingspan.

Ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Mercedes announced a new deal with international firm Kingspan, whose logos now appear on the nose section of the W12 car.

But with Kingspan’s involvement in the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster, which claimed the lives of 72 people, still under scrutiny amid an ongoing public enquiry, there has been a backlash from those affected by the tragedy.

Well aware that Kingspan’s K15 insulation was one of the products installed on the side of the tower, the pressure group Grenfell United, made up of survivors and bereaved families, wrote to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff urging him to reconsider the deal.

Wolff wrote back to them and said that, while remaining committed to the Kingspan sponsorship, he was prepared to meet those affected by the tragedy to understand more.

Now, Michael Gove MP, who is Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, has also stepped in and urged Mercedes and Wolff to think again.

 

In a letter to Wolff, which Gove published on Twitter, he made it clear how disappointed he was with Mercedes’ decision to go ahead with the deal.

“The Grenfell bereaved, survivors and wider community have been failed in the past by both the state and the private sector. They are right to feel deeply hurt and aggrieved by your decision to sign this sponsorship deal whilst the public inquiry continues,” he wrote.

Then Gove warned that the Kingspan situation could be enough to prompt the UK government to change the jurisdiction it has over advertising and sponsorship in sport.

While current limitations mainly involve products related to tobacco, alcohol and gambling, Gove said he could not rule out the government stepping in to prevent deals like the Mercedes/Kingspan one being allowed.

“As Secretary of State, the planning controls for outdoor advertising spaces in England are a statutory responsibility that falls to me,” he wrote.

“Currently, broadly speaking, adverts displayed on enclosed land, such as within sports stadia, or those displayed on vehicles, are excluded from direct control of the relevant authorities.

“My cabinet colleagues and I will keep this system under constant and close review to ensure that the advertising regime remains fit for purpose and reflects the public interest.

“I am conscious that there are very real questions about whether Parliament would support a statutory regime that enabled a core participant in a public enquiry in to how 72 people lost their lives to advertise its products publicly to millions of families across the country.

“The achievements of Mercedes and Sir Lewis Hamilton in recent years represent a British success story of which we are all proud. I hope you will reconsider this commercial partnership, which threatens to undermine all the good work the company and the sport have done.”

Gove said that he also sent a copy of the letter to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and Nadine Dorries MP, Secretary of Sporting for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

shares
comments

Related video

Red Bull: F1 engine power less important than expected in Jeddah
Previous article

Red Bull: F1 engine power less important than expected in Jeddah

Next article

Leclerc wants to thank Ferrari in ‘best possible way’ after crash repairs

Leclerc wants to thank Ferrari in ‘best possible way’ after crash repairs
Load comments
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022