Rob Smedley to leave Williams at end of 2018 F1 season

Rob Smedley is to leave Williams at the end of the current Formula 1 season.

Smedley, following a lengthy spell at Ferrari, joined Williams in 2014 as Head of Performance Engineering, helping to guide the team through its recovery after a dismal 2013.

Williams went on to secure back-to-back third places in the Constructors’ Championship, before taking successive fifth spots, though has slipped to the rear of the 10-team table this year.

Smedley’s impending exit follows that of head of aero Dirk de Beer and chief designer Ed Wood, who left the team earlier in the season amid its lacklustre form.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Williams,” said Smedley.

“The team has been through great change since I joined in 2014 and it has been a pleasure to have played a part in that. 

“Williams is a very special team within the F1 community and I’m certain that with all the talent that we have here they will go on and do better things. The team will always remain close to my heart.

“After 20 years in Formula 1, however, I feel it’s the right time to reflect on things and evaluate what the next move is.

“I’m thoroughly looking forward to spending more time with my family before deciding on future opportunities.”

Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams added: “It has been a pleasure having Rob in our team for the last four years and we will miss him both personally and professionally.

“He agreed to join us at a time when our performance was low, and we are grateful that he saw the potential for us to turn things around at that time.

“During his time with us, he has made a significant contribution to the team through his role, but he’s also been just a great person to have at Grove, inspiring many with his enthusiasm and passion for Formula 1.

“Rob’s been in the sport a long time, so we totally understand and respect his decision to take some well-deserved time out to spend with his wife and boys.

“We wish him all the best and thank him wholeheartedly for the time, passion and fighting spirit he’s given to Williams.”