Smedley seeks new challenge but still in F1

Date published: November 10 2018

Rob Smedley says he hopes to find a new challenge wherever his future lies after Williams revealed he’s leaving the team at the end of this season.

Smedley joined Williams in 2014, signing on after a decade with Ferrari.

The 44-year-old played a pivotal role in Williams’ back-to-back P3s in 2014 and 2015 but was also on hand for their fall from grace.

The team has managed just seven points in this year’s championship and are locked down in last place in the standings.

Smedley, though, hopes Williams’ “good group” of people in the vehicle performance side of the business are in the better shape than they were when he first joined.

“I think I joined Williams at a time when they were evolving from having a torrid time of it let’s say – the new regulations in 2014 and the part that I was going to play in the journey was to take on the vehicle science, the vehicle performance side of it, the race operations and to try to help out in that area,” he said.

“I think that if you look back at 2012, 2013 and from that point on, from 2014, with the huge effort that all of the guys that work in that department, we have been able to grow it, we’ve been able to improve it, and hopefully I leave it in better shape than it was.

“It’s a good group now, they’ve got good knowledge, good methodologies, we brought a lot of science into the way we use tyres, into the way we use the car in general, so that the team can go ahead and pretty much exploit any car that’s given to them, the race operations itself, the way the mechanics work. Hopefully it is in better shape than it was.

“It’s kind of time for a new challenge for me now, I think. Williams has got it’s own challenge in front it to come from where it is at the minute. I’m going to go away and take another challenge somewhere else.

“I’m going to spend some time at home – that’s first and foremost the thing I’m going to do.

“I’m going to spend some time with my family who have supported me for a long time. I’ve got to do that. I have no choice in that.

“But I’m very, very grateful that I can do that and spend some time being a normal husband, a normal dad and not going away every two weeks and not working until 9 or 10 in the office every night, so I’ll enjoy that to begin with and then we’ll go from there.”

He, however, hopes to remain in Formula 1.

“I definitely want to stay in Formula 1,” he said. “It’s my passion and has been all my working life, and it’s still the pinnacle of motorsport.

“There’s other series, let’s say, which are snapping at its heels, but it’s still got a lot to offer.

“So I do want to stay in F1 on the technical side, and I’m lucky because I’m already talking to people and that’s a fortunate position to be in. Then we’ll see.”