Formula 1 – F1: Performance head Rob Smedley to leave Williams at end of F1 2018

Formula 1 – F1: Performance head Rob Smedley to leave Williams at end of F1 2018


Williams has confirmed its performance chief Rob Smedley will leave the Formula 1 team at the end of the 2018 season.

Smedley left Ferrari to join Williams in 2014 as the team’s new head of performance, with the British squad looking to bolster its race operations following a difficult 2013 campaign.

He played a key role in helping Williams secure back-to-back third-place finishes in the constructors’ championship during the early phase of the V6 hybrid era, before it came fifth in 2016 and again in 2017.

Smedley said he is yet to decide upon his next career move and will focus on spending time with his family while he evaluates his options.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Williams,” Smedley said. “The team has been through great change since I joined in 2014 and it has been a pleasure to have played a part in that.

“Williams is a very special team within the F1 community and I’m certain that with all the talent that we have here they will go on and do better things.

“The team will always remain close to my heart. After 20 years in Formula 1, however, I feel it’s the right time to reflect on things and evaluate what the next move is.

“I’m thoroughly looking forward to spending more time with my family before deciding on future opportunities.”

Smedley began his F1 career with Jordan 2001 before switching to Ferrari three years later, where he linked up with long-time companion Felipe Massa, who he eventually followed to Williams.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams added: “It has been a pleasure having Rob in our team for the last four years and we will miss him both personally and professionally.

“He agreed to join us at a time when our performance was low, and we are grateful that he saw the potential for us to turn things around at that time.

“During his time with us, he has made a significant contribution to the team through his role, but he’s also been just a great person to have at Grove, inspiring many with his enthusiasm and passion for Formula 1.

“Rob’s been in the sport a long time, so we totally understand and respect his decision to take some well-deserved time out to spend with his wife and boys.

“We wish him all the best and thank him wholeheartedly for the time, passion and fighting spirit he’s given to Williams.”

2018 has proven to be a disappointing season for Williams, which has slipped to the bottom of the constructors’ standings in a year marked by a number of personnel changes after it lost head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer and chief designer Ed Wood. 



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