Rob Smedley, Felipe Massa’s Race Engineer for the last eight years at Ferrari could potentially follow the Brazilian to the UK, with a move to Williams.
With Monday’s announcement that Felipe Massa will join Williams for 2014, many are now speculating over the future of the Brazilian’s long-time Race Engineer, Rob Smedley, with whom Massa has built up a strong working relationship, which has in the past produced a number of comical team radio exchanges between the two.
Smedley, who has partnered Massa at the Scuderia ever since 2006, has a historic link with the Williams team, having worked as a part of their touring car operations with Renault in the late 90’s, before making the move into Formula One with Jordan.
However, as Claire Williams the team’s Deputy Team Principal has explained, the arrival of Felipe Massa does not necessarily ensure that a move for the Yorkshire man will follow suit.
Speaking to the BBC, Williams said: “They don’t come as a package, they come separately. They are very much their own people. So if Rob Smedley was to join our team, it has to be on his terms, and he has to be given a role he wants to do and that may or may not be Felipe’s race engineer. Felipe is grown-up enough to join a team without bringing his race engineer with him.
Massa’s signing, alongside that of former Renault and Marussia man Pat Symond’s, is seen as a signal of the intent of the Grove-based squad to return to the top of the sport, following a lean number of years which has warranted just one win since the end of team’s association with BMW, at the close of the 2005 season.
“We’re working very hard to address the problems we have in-house,” said Williams. “We have some great talent in Williams but we need to make sure we have all the talent we need to perform right at the top.
Nevertheless, Williams refused to be drawn to confirm an approach for Smedley.
“So I’m hoping that before the end of the season or maybe slightly after we’ll be making some more announcements in a similar vein to Massa. Whether that involves a certain engineer or other engineers I can’t tell you.”
Image courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari