Williams' Lowe expresses 'great affection' for departed Smedley

© XPB 

Williams tech chief Paddy Lowe holds Rob Smedley in high regard, admitting his fellow engineer and himself will be leaving behind "a great relationship".

Smedley - Williams' former Head of Vehicle Performance - departed the Grove-based outfit after five years at the end of last season to seek a change of scenery.

Lowe praised his now former colleague who remains his friend, and underlined a relationship that was as productive at the race track as it was beyond.

"It's been fantastic to work with Rob. He's a great guy, and a funny guy as well." Lowe told Autosport.

"It's been a real pleasure to work with him in the office and particularly on the pit wall.

"We have a really good time out there, even in the depths of poor performance. But Rob is moving on, he wanted to make some changes to his life."

After a ten-year stint at Ferrari, Smedley joined Williams in 2014 to help guide the British outfit's race operations team at a time of transition following a poor campaign in 2013.

Williams went on to finish third in the Championship for two consecutive years before finishing fifth in 2016 and 2017, and tenth last season following the worst campaign in its history.

"The team will always remain close to my heart," said Smedley last November.

"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."

Lowe felt the need to offer clarity on his feelings about Smedley's departure to avoid any negative speculation.

"We depart with a great relationship between Rob and the team, with no regrets and great affection for the time we have had with him," he said.

"I need to get those things said, otherwise people will make up their own stories."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter