Williams has announced that their Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley will leave the team at the end of this year’s Formula 1 season.

In a statement released on Monday, Smedley did not reveal where he would move onto after a horrid year with the Williams outfit only scoring seven constructor’s championship points to date.

He joins Dirk de Beer (Head of Aerodynamics) and Ed Wood (Chief Designer) who have departed this year after another declining year in results.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Williams,” commented Smedley. “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.”

Smedley joined Williams as Head of Performance Engineering in 2014 after switching from Ferrari to help the struggling team bounce back from their dismal 2013 season.

His influence promoted the former world champions back up the order to an impressive third place in the constructor’s race, thanks to Mercedes’ dominant power unit, before consecutive fifth-place finishes in 2016 and 2017.

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

Rookie Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado were rarely able to extract more from a poor Williams chassis in 2013. The team could only salvage two top-ten finishes and just five constructor championship points, their equal worst championship season in their 40-year history.

“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.

“I feel it’s the right time to reflect on things and evaluate what the next move is,” Smedley added. “I’m thoroughly looking forward to spending more time with my family before deciding on future opportunities.”

Time will tell where the 44-year old’s future will continue in Formula 1 or elsewhere with potential avenues to reunite with long-time racing partner Felipe Massa in Formula E at Venturi.

After twenty years in Formula 1, Smedley now only has two more races to go this season when the Brazilian Grand Prix commences this weekend in Sao Paulo.

Images via Williams Racing

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Luke McCullough

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Melbourne based and Australian Grand Prix enthusiast with over 10+ years of attendance.
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