Williams finally confirms Smedley appointment

Williams has finally confirmed the arrival of Felipe Massa’s long time Ferrari race engineer, Rob Smedley.

He will take up the newly created role of Head of Vehicle Performance.

Williams says that he will “strengthen the trackside team whilst also supporting the development work back at the factory to help bring more performance to the car throughout the season.”

Andrew Murdoch will be engineer to Felipe Massa, and Jonathan Eddolls continues with Valtteri Bottas. Meanwhile Richard Lockwood joins from Marussia as Head of Race Strategy. He will work with strategist Randeep Singh.

“Williams is undergoing change and these new appointments reflect how high our ambitions are,” said Pat Symonds. “We have a number of senior people joining us to assist us in the pursuit of those 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, and so it will be important to add further depth to the talent we already have here as we head into 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.”


Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News

9 responses to “Williams finally confirms Smedley appointment

  1. Mick

    Why such a late confirmation – was he still under contract to Ferrari until now?

    • We assume that was the complication. I was told 4-5 months ago by a Williams insider that Rob was coming.

    • Ceej

      Gardening leave for his notice period. I know people these days who have 6 months in their contract. I’d be more concerned that he appears to have a made up job title. I would have thought everyone in an F1 team was concerned with vehicle performance….

      • woods84

        I’d love to know how ‘gardening leave’ actually works in practice in F1.

        Whilst I’m guessing if you’re on gardening leave you can’t start ‘day-to-day’ work for your new team, it would be surprising if there wasn’t some kind of casual input and info sharing with your new team before the official start date.

  2. Stone the Crows

    Great for Williams, and great for Rob, I’m really liking the changes they’re making.

  3. Ceej

    I’m sure gardening leave in F1 works the same as any other place. It’s basically like working from home. But you have a secretive email address and restrict your contact at the new place to one or two people. Oh, and don’t do anything to cheese off the firm you’re leaving.

    • It just makes it all seem a bit pointless really as the key knowledge transfer will happen regardless. I’m surprised there aren’t more deals done to avoid it happening.

      • Ceej

        In theory Rob has not been privy to the latest goings on at Ferrari for 3 – 4 months prior to joining Williams. F1 contracts tend to be under english law which supports the rights of the employer to enforce gardening leave etc. Choose Russian law as you can’t make a person work more than 2 weeks notice under their law regardless of what is in the contract 🙂

      • To be fair Rob is an operational engineer and his knowledge is a lot less valuable to other teams than someone from the heart of the design office or aero department

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