Sepang International Circuit, Sepang, Malaysia. Saturday 30 September 2017. Rob Smedley, Head of Vehicle Performance, Williams Martini Racing. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _31I1086

Smedley: I definitely want to stay in Formula 1

Sepang International Circuit, Sepang, Malaysia.<br /> Saturday 30 September 2017.<br /> Rob Smedley, Head of Vehicle Performance, Williams Martini Racing.<br /> Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams<br /> ref: Digital Image _31I1086

Although Rob Smedley has decided to part ways with Williams at the end of the season, he revealed today that he intends to remain in Formula 1. Simply put his time at Grove is over and he is looking for new challenges.

When asked during the FIA hosted press conference on Friday about life after Williams, Smedley replied, “I definitely want to stay in Formula 1. Formula 1 is my passion. It’s been all my working life that I’ve been in Formula 1 and it’s still the pinnacle of motorsport. There are other series that are snapping at its heels but it’s still got a lot to offer.”


“Formula 1, we’re working on it all the time, it’s not the complete package. It has so much more potential than what you actually see. So yeah, I do want to stay in Formula 1 on the technical side. I’m lucky, because I’m already talking to people and that’s a fortunate position to be in and we’ll just see where everything takes us.”

Smedley’s departure from Williams comes at a time when the team is at an all-time low. Great expectations of a revival under Paddy Lowe as the technical boss has proved to be a disaster and heads have rolled but it seems that Smedley is walking voluntarily rather than being forced to.

“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.”

“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 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.”

With regards to the team he leaves behind, 44-year-old Smedley said, “There’s never one magic bullet is there. I think in all areas really, you can never stop learning and improving. I think it would be a mistake to pinpoint one area and say that has to be the sole concentration or that’s the sole problem; it’s not.”

“As with anything that’s not quite working as well as it should be, or as efficiently as it should be, with any business, with any organisation, it’s never one thing. What Williams need to do now… they’ve got strong leadership and Claire is at the front of that leadership and I think what they need to do at that leadership level, is they need a recovery plan and that has to attack all areas of the business.”

“It has to be technical, but it has to be all the support structure of the business as well. There are areas that need modernisation, there are areas that need change and there are areas you should recognise that are strong compared to other Formula 1 teams but are not supported in other ways.”

“It’s a long road, they’re a talented bunch there, there are some really good technical people, some really good engineers and a good management group and the trick now is they have to pull together and start to go in one direction,” added Smedley.