Smedley: I did not expect such a quick Williams revival

Rob Smedley pleasantly surprised

Rob Smedley pleasantly surprised

Last year Williams struggled, this year they are the revelation of the new season and the success this year coincides with Rob Smedley, following Felipe Massa from Ferrari, to the Grove based outfit as head of vehicle performance.

Asked ahead of the Hungarian grand Prix if he expected such a rapid turnaround in fortunes for the team, he said, “No, absolutely not. I think that when I first had contact with this team it was very clear it was a team that had enough resource and budget that we would get ourselves back to where we should be.”

In the last few races Williams have emerged as best of the rest behind the all-conquering Mercedes team. Granted the Williams FW36 does have the handy Mercedes power unit bolted on to its back, but so does the McLaren MP4-29

“I didn’t expect that it was going to be so quick but that’s a nice problem. I’d rather that problem than it taking three years too long. We are currently six months, maybe nine months, ahead of where I expected we would be. I expected we would get back to a good position with the people we have but not this quickly.”

Valterri Bottas and Felipe Massa

Valterri Bottas and Felipe Massa

Despite being the surprise package of the season, Smedley insists that Williams are not content to settle for third in the drivers’ championship.

“The ambition of this team is to win the world championship eventually and that means you have to beat teams like Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. They are all targets and we will be going after them all,” declared Smedley.

“If you’re looking at the progress we have made and are making, I’m happy with it and impressed with it coming from my old team – compared to that, I think that the development rate is impressive especially when you consider the resources we have,” he mused.

“I don’t think it’s an accident that we consistently have the second quickest car. I don’t think it’s an accident we are now third in the championship. Other people have dropped the ball in some areas but that’s Formula 1. You can’t mitigate against that, just do the best you can do with your equipment and your resources,” explained the Englishman whose radio conversations with Massa at Ferrari are a thing of legend.

Williams lie third in the constructors’ championship with three podiums in the last three races, one of which was their their 300th podium as a team, at the recent German Grand Prix. (GP247)