'No bad feelings' at Williams as Smedley departs

Rob Smedley (GBR) Williams Head of Vehicle Performance.
© XPB 

The Williams F1 team says that it remains on very good terms with Rob Smedley, who is leaving his post as Head of Vehicle Performance at Grove after the 2018 season.

Smedley joined Williams in 2014 at the same time as Felipe Massa, for whom he had been race engineer at Ferrari. Massa retired from F1 at the end of 2017 and this weekend is starting a new phase of his career in Formula E.

One year on, Smedley has also decided to leave Williams. His future plans are yet to be announced, although he's signalled that he intends to find a new position in Formula 1 for 2019.

But one thing Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe wanted to make clear this week is that Smedley wasn't quitting because of a behind-the-scenes fall out at the team.

“Rob is moving on, but he wanted to make some changes in his life," Lowe explained this week. "He wanted to stop travelling and spend more time with his family.

"He’s been on the road for I don’t know how many years," Lowe explained. "He’s got a young family, and he wants to see a bit more of them. These things come along.

“We depart with a great relationship between Rob and the team," he insisted.

"[There are] no regrets and great affection for the time we’ve had with him. I need to get those things said, because otherwise people make up their own stories."

“It’s been fantastic to work with Rob,” Lowe continued. “He’s a great guy, a funny guy as well it’s been a real pleasure to work with him in the office, and also particularly on the pit wall.

"We have a good time out there, even in the depths of poor performance," he added.

Lowe suggested that there were no immediate plans to directly replace Smedley in his role, and that the team already had enough in-house talent to fill the gap the experienced F1 veteran will be leaving behind.

“At the moment we have no external appointments planned," Lowe said. "We don’t have a Rob Smedley, but we have a lot of other individuals with different names who have different capabilities.

"We’ll restructure to play to their strengths," he continued. “At the moment we have no external appointments planned. We have a lot of engineers. There’s depth in the team, and we will restructure ourselves around people we already have in place.

"We all do things differently," he pointed out. "There’s no such thing as a perfect organisation chart. Generally you create organisations around real people, because real people have their own ability, their own skills.

"You have to come at it that way round."

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