Smedley finally makes Williams switch as Head of Vehicle Performance
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By:   |  25 Feb 2014   |  11:27 am GMT  |  114 comments

Following months of speculation that Rob Smedley would follow Felipe Massa to Williams F1, the former Ferrari engineer has today been announced as Head of Vehicle Performance at the Grove squad. He will join the team between the Malaysian and Bahrain Grands Prix.

Smedley will take up a newly created position in the team, working alongside engineers trackside while assisting with the of the FW36 development across the season. His engineering experience will also see him support Andrew Murdoch and Jonathan Eddolls, the respective race engineers of Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

The team also announced that in an effort to improve its tactical resources it has signed Richard Lockwood as Head of Race Strategy. Lockwood will work alongside current strategist Randeep Singh.

“Williams in undergoing change and these new appointments reflect how high our ambitions are,” said Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds.

“We have a number of senior people joining to assist us in the pursuit of our ambitions and I am extremely excited to welcome them on-board. 2014 gives us the biggest change to the technical regulations that I have seen in my career, so it will be important to add further depth to the talent we already have here as we head in to the new season. Williams has always prided itself on engineering excellence and this latest announcement is part of our continued goal to bring success back to the team.”

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off topic

hello James,

A few months ago Montezemolo went to see Apple. Here’s the result of their collaboration:


Yes saw that, thanks

Exciting tie up


The bromance continues…

Good luck Felipe baby


williams’ best recruit for some time………..

what I ‘m trying to say is wolff the 16% shareholder, “wolff” the mercedes engine reqruit.

have a good one rob @williams


Lol….. Way too obvious.

No one dares say it out loud – Williams may not be on that upward curve the way some would like.

Not sure Rob should tie himself to Massa though in this way – you all know such relationships can only end in tears….. His tears!


I much prefer reading about positive things happening for teams and drivers. Super to hear and see Williams back it must have been awfully stressful for them for the last few years.

Also happy for Felipe and Rob to be out from under the situation at Ferrari. I am not bagging Ferrari but it just isn’t a nice situation to work in I think (it’s mentally degrading for a racer).


I would agree Prancing Horse is a hot bed of politics and intrigue.


yes all looks good for williams,they will soon be the official no 2 merc team(if they are not all ready)when mClaren go to honda,sure this is the main reason things are looking up for them,its a strong engine,but well done anyway.


I’m a McLaren fan but I would dearly love to see Massa get some podiums (even a win) just to see the Felipe/Rob man love reunion. Even the Ferrari fans desperate to get rid of Massa the past few years would probably appreciate that.


Its good to see williams going in a good direction at last. Hope they get a good points haul this year and a podium or two. And build up to challenge for wins in the next couple of years. With Mclaren switching to Honda next year Williams could be the top Merdedes customer team. Hope it gets them back to the front where they belong at last.


There are way too many Richards active on this blog lol.


I am not a fan of Sir Frank nor of Pat Symonds. however, I do believe it is good for the health of the Sport that these guys seem to have it going on a bit for 2014. for that, I am hopefully thankful…


I wonder what he’ll be up to at his new position. Would’ve been nice if he was Massa’s race engineer again, but hey, bit of change won’t harm them too much I gues.


Good to see Rob gets to stick with his pal but for this news to make a headline on the most famous f1 news site just shows how few personalitys there are at the moment.


And how quiet it is between testing 🙂


I hope Williams can mix it with the big teams, but something just doesn’t seem right.

Seen video interviews and articles with Symonds saying the car is running like a dream and that they had no problems on fourth day in Bahrain.

Even if was true, why would they say all this? You don’t see Mercedes bragging about…

I wonder if they throw all this PR talk because they still try to sign the Martini sponsorship and they need to be in the headlines for the right reasons.

Seems a bit strange how much they brag about the new car. Hope I’m wrong.


I wonder if at some point this year,whoever is Massas race engineer,they’ll say ‘Felipe you are faster than Alonso’. I really hope so!


How good would that be? 🙂


Exactly the right one to give Felipe the message “Valterri is faster than you”;)


I’m not a Williams fan but I do like how they go about racing. Not only have they recruited good people they made the right decision in getting rid of Renault.

Prediction for 2014

Massa to win a race or possibly 2

Bottas to get a podium

Overall – 4th or 5th in the constructors


Possibly even third in constructors?




Williams and Force India title dark horses this year.


Talk about a Williams News Cycle!

I really hope all this positive news leads to much improved performance throughout.

Williams are a piece of F1’s heritage. (To me F1 without Williams would be like F1 without Spa, Monaco, Silverstone or Suzuka) As significant as these hallowed circuits.

I really hope Williams with Mercedes can cement their future in the sport with some really great results from both Massa and Bottas.


Excellent piece. You’re right, Frank is part of the F1 pedigree, as is Silverstone and its awesome blindingly quick corners.

What chance the blue and white cars to do well on the sweeping mega-fast curves of Northamptonshire?


It’s starting to look like Mercedes head hunted the wrong person from Williams (sorry Toto). I am so excited for Claire and her team. Right engine, great new engineers, commercial side coming together, great driver pairing. Excuse my enthusiasm but I want them to succeed.


Don’t worry, you’re not the only one 🙂


“His engineering experience will also see him support Andrew Murdoch and Jonathan Eddolls, the respective race engineers of Massa and Valtteri Bottas.”

Does that mean Smedley won’t be doing the radio talks to Massa during races?


Yes, unfortunately, he’s more behind the scenes at Grove as he wanted to move on from being a race engineer to do some engineering/aero work.


I have always found it interesting that engineers move teams and that relative competitiveness doesn’t seem to be a factor in the way that it would with drivers.

For example Ciaron Pilbeam moved from Red Bull to Lotus which isn’t a a move you expect Sebastian Vettel to make.

I’d be interested in some insight to what those decision make processes are – ambition, self-belief, necessity?


Ciaron is now at McLaren


James, has anyone of significance moved to alotus recently?


Not that I am aware of


I think the Race Engineers report to Smedley, not “Smedley will support the race engineers”?


A sense of excitement is definitely building at Williams. Watch Massa in particular and Bottas as the coming man this season, who knows how the daft double points final race may benefit them. Go the Grovers.


Test driver Felipe Nasr too….so will Smedley say “Ok, so Felipe is faster than you…Felipe. Can you confirm you understood that”


Felipe Baby and Felipe Maybe 😉


that could work quite well – shake them up a bit and stir them both on to quicker times!


I adore Williams. I’m so excited that they’re bringing together the ingredients to put them back up front where they belong.

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