Rob Smedley wants to stay in Formula 1 despite announcing his departure from Williams to spend more time with his family this winter.
Williams confirmed before the Brazilian Grand Prix that its head of performance engineering will leave the team at the end of this season, having joined the team from Ferrari in 2014. While there is no confirmed next move for Smedley, the 44-year-old says he wants his next challenge to be in F1 once he has taken some time to weigh up his options.
“I definitely want to stay in Formula 1,” Smedley (pictured third from left, above) said. “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. We’ll just see where everything takes us.”
Having previously worked at Ferrari, Smedley admits a return to Italy is not off the table but refused to explicitly name the Scuderia as one of the teams he is in talks with.
“I’m going on holiday there (Italy) in January, if that helps! I would say at this moment in time I’m not closing off any options. As I said earlier, I’m in a really fortunate lucky position that people want to talk to me, so I’m talking and, as I said, there’s absolutely no avenues closed off.
“What I actually need to do is to at some point, towards the start of next year, is to get all the options on the table and after having spent a little bit of time away from it and being able to look at things with a clearer head, slightly less fatigued, then I will make a decision; but until that point I will see what the options are as they come in and go from there.”
Despite making clear his motivation to remain in F1, Smedley says he is looking forward to some time away from the sport to spend with his family before making a decision.
“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.”