Williams can confirm that head of performance, Rob Smedley, will leave the team at the end of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship season.
Rob joined the team in 2014 as Head of Performance Engineering, under Pat Symonds, making his first appearance at the Bahrain Grand Prix to help guide the race operations team at a time of transition following a poor 2013 campaign. The team went on to finish third in the Championship for two consecutive years before finishing fifth in 2016 and 2017.
The team have had a difficult year and Rob is one of three key people to have left the team this year after losing Dirk de Beer (head of aerodynamics) and Ed Wood (chief designer) in May.
Commenting on the decision Rob said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Williams. 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 One, 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.”
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal 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 One. 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.”
Like a bad penny, he’ll turn up somewhere… “family” sure. For years he cajoled, molly-coddled Massa, was always the shoulder to weep on… frankly, I have no idea how he lasted so long… under Frank he would have been booted years ago, maybe Claire is too soft.
Too harsh? Yes, maybe. But still, let’s have some backbone at Williams!
Will the Williams front-end make a compound turn at Interlagos? Is silly season over? Stay tuned.
Not really as relevant to Smedley’s departure as his role was different but 5 technical directors, 5 Chief Designers and 8 lead Aerodynamicists since 2000 plus two leaders and a lot of other very bright minds have passed through Williams and its still for most of that time had the same problems.
Is another shake up of personnel really going to rescue the team everyone has in their top 2 favourite teams?