Smedley rejoins Massa at Williams

2014 F1 season

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Williams have confirmed Felipe Massa’s former Ferrari race engineer Rob Smedley has joined him at the team – but in a different capacity.

Smedley has taken on the new role of head of vehicle performance which will combine trackside work with car development responsibilities.

Williams also announced the hiring of Richard Lockwood from Marussia, who will be head of race strategy alongside current strategist Randeep Singh.

Andrew Murdoch will serve as race engineer to Massa while Jonathan Eddolls will continue to work with Valtteri Bottas.

Chief technical officer Pat Symonds said: “these new appointments reflect how high our ambitions are”.

“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 have made a raft of hirings during the off-season including Shaun Whitehead (from Red Bull), Dave Wheater (Lotus), Jakob Andreasen (Force India) and Craig Wilson (Mercedes).

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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37 comments on “Smedley rejoins Massa at Williams”

  1. Superb news!

  2. I think it’s quite interesting how Williams have approached their announcements so far. Smedley, Nasr, Banco de Brasil, Petrobras, they were all rumored a long time ago. We all know Nasr and BdB had to be finalized before the Bahrain test, logistically it’s impossible to sign a driver one day and have him drive the next.

    I’m wondering if they signed all these deals in a very short time span and went with modern internet marketing 101: keeping people talking about you as long as possible by spreading yourself widely over a certain period in time.

    1. Don’t forget that in the grapevine is also the big “Martini” come back…

  3. Good news for Smedley and for Williams. The only pity about his new role is that we won’t get to hear them over the team radio anymore, they had by far the best rapport between driver and engineer.

    1. The only pity about his new role is that we won’t get to hear them over the team radio anymore

      I read the first half of the title and got incredibly excited!
      Then I realised there still won’t be any Smedley bromance :(

    2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      25th February 2014, 13:08

      @geemac – I just don’t get that. Surely building on that rapport and easing Massa into the team would be best in the long run?

      1. it’s not really about massa though i imagine. massas sponsorship money would’ve given him quite a bit of sway, i’m guessing part of his agreeing to come to williams was an agreement that there would be a place for smedley there too, and very possibly that it included a promotion. Considering his experience he was probably due to ‘step up’ the ranks as it were too.

        It’s quite nice really that massa is looking out for his friend, you could argue that is the best possible way for the continuance of the bromance.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          25th February 2014, 17:55

          If think you’re reading too much into Massa’s minimal Santander sponsorship (minimal compared to Maldonado’s PDVSA sponsorship). It certainly would not have allowed Massa to dictate where Smedley goes in the team, although I have no doubt he recommended Rob to them. And if I was in Massa’s shoes I’d like my good friend and long time engineer to continue in his post to help the transition.

      2. @william-brierty Hmm, it’s a dangerous thing having a new driver and race engineer combo. Especially in a season with so much change. It’s best to have a seasoned Williams head on the pit wall who has been involved with the car development up until now, at least to some extent.

        There may be too much to teach two people at a time like this, better to be safe than sorry I say. Especially when there are millions and millions of pounds on the line!

  4. Wow! Smedley must really love Felipe to leave Ferrari… There really must be something there between these two.

    1. Maybe, he wants to spend more time in the UK.

    2. probably getting a significant pay rise because the role he’s going into is more senior. and yeah, gets to move back to the uk.

  5. Happy for Rob Smedley, although I’m sad to see him leave Ferrari. At this rate of going Massa and Smedley are going to end up in the same retirement home. They have a great ‘bromance’!

    1. @colossal-squid I am surprised Ferrari didn’t impose a ‘gardening period’ or whatever it is called for Smedley

      1. @onebhk I think Ted Kravitz confirmed at Jerez the other week that Smedley was at that time running out his gardening leave so maybe he’s free of it now and he’ll be at Bahrain.

      2. They did as far as i’m aware

  6. AWESOME!!!

  7. I am weirdly touched by this. They must have a great friendship :-)

  8. Smedley and Kimi was never going to work.

  9. And the Bromance continues ! (Seriously though, it is not uncommon in most line of work that top management bring in their lugage the employees they esteem the most. F1 should not be any different.)

    1. employees should read as “former co-workers” of course

  10. According to Sky Sports a deal between Smedley and Williams had been agreed before Ferrari even let Felipe go, so it was Massa following Smedley to Williams, not the other way around. If this is true it’s a good bet that Rob had a big part to play in getting Massa the drive at Williams

  11. Claire Williams and her team are doing a great job. Their car looks good, Mercedes PU choice looks ever perfect, new sponsor, hiring experienced engineers, a good driver line-up… Future looks good for them, hope it turns as good as their glorious past.

    Bring back 1993!

    1. Yes, they’ve played a blinder this winter, and they’ll have plenty of knowledge of how Ferrari has operated for the last few years. There deserve to be a few smug faces at Grove because of the switch to Mercedes engines.

      Please don’t bring back 1993 though, I want a stronger field and more competition than that!

    2. i think williams driver choices have always been questionable in the recent past but i think they’ve nailed it this year, i think bottas is a real talent and massa is still fast has plenty of experience and brings lots of money.

      After having maldonado and alonso as their teammates respectively im guessing they’ll get along pretty damn well compared too.

      1. Most of their driver choices have been marriages of convenience though, Maldonado just filled the role Nakajima used to occupy. Considering they don’t have a young driver program think of the drivers they’ve brought into the sport though. Rosberg, Hulkenberg and now Bottas prove they know how to spot talent. Actually this year’s lineup is quite reminiscent of Webber/Rosberg or Barichello/Hulkenberg, now they just need to make a quick car.

  12. Williams are going to be great this year, especially in the hands of Bottas IMO. But I am wondering whether they should have approached Hulkenburg over a deal. Bottas and Hulkenburg. Now that’s a experienced/quick lineup!

  13. The bromance continues between these two!

  14. “Felipe baby, stay cool. We’re getting Smedly under contract…”

  15. I think it’s good both that Smedley and Massa have been reunited, but also that Massa’s race engineer is someone else, so Felipe can find a different way of working, perhaps more stimulating; hopefully they’ll get on well.

    1. @fixy
      Yeah I had the same thought, judging by the (somewhat vague) job title I’m guessing he’ll still be using driver feedback so their rapport and experience working together will be useful there. Smedley has seemed a bit like an overbearing parent in recent seasons, hopefully now Felipe’s flown the nest he can race in a more positive fashion.

      I still expect him to suck though, hope I’m proved wrong!

      1. Agreed Smedley was overbearing. I think Felipe does need a clean break so it is good news he is getting a different race engineer. If I was a driver I wouldn’t have my engineer telling me how to drive the car, no way.

  16. I was sure this happened in December.

    Ha, weird that. Got my head all over the place now.

  17. I am happy for Williams, seems that are doing the right moves this year, and Smedley rejoining Massa can only be for him some positive reinforcement, they are seemingly like brothers…

  18. This team really try to improve to frontline, i like this.

  19. Reports of Rob and Felipe running into each others arms in slow motion remain unconfirmed…

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