Smedley surprised by speed of Williams turnaround
Rob Smedley says he never would have predicted Williams would be third in the constructors' championship at the mid-way stage of the season when he joined the team earlier this year.
Smedley joined Williams in February from Ferrari, where he had previously worked as Felipe Massa's race engineer, as the team's newly-created head of vehicle performance. Williams scored just five points last season and, though Smedley knew he was joining an ambitious team in February, he did not believe it could deliver a turnaround in performance so quickly.
"No, absolutely not," Smedley said when asked whether he expected Williams to be in its current position. "I think that when I first had contact with this team it was very clear it was a team that had enough resource and budget that we would get ourselves back to where we should be.
"I didn't expect that it was going to be so quick but that's a nice problem. I'd rather that problem than it taking three years too long. We are currently six months, maybe nine months, ahead of where I expected we would be. I expected we would get back to a good position with the people we have but not this quick."
Despite being the surprise package of the season, Smedley insists Williams is not content to settle for third in the drivers' championship.
"The ambition of this team is to win the world championship eventually and that means you have to beat teams like Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. They are all targets and we will be going after them all."
Williams does not have the resources of the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari but has been above both in the pecking order at the last few races, something Smedley thinks the team deserves enormous credit for.
"If you're looking at the progress we have made and are making, I'm happy with it and impressed with it coming from my old team, compared to that I think the development rate is impressive especially when you consider the resources we have.
"I don't think it's an accident we consistently have the second quickest car. I don't think it's an accident we are now third in the championship. Other people have dropped the ball in some areas but that's Formula One, you can't mitigate against that, just do the best you can do with your equipment and your resources."