Williams performance director Rob Smedley has confirmed that he will leave the Grove squad at the end of the 2018 season. Smedley joined the team in 2014, taking on the role of head of performance engineering in an effort to bounce the team back from its disastrous 2013 campaign.
Smedley oversaw successful 2014 and 2015 campaigns, in which the team finished third in the constructor's championship. However, 2018 has been another tough year for the team who languish at the bottom of the constructor's standings.
Williams has not yet lined up a replacement for the Briton, while Smedly has not confirmed what his new plans are. The 44-year-old says that it has been a pleasure to be part of the Williams community over the last number of years.
"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."
Smedly started his F1 career at Jordan in 2001. After spending three years with the Irish squad, he moved to Ferrari where he worked as Felipe Massa's engineer from 2006 until the Brazilian's departure to Williams at the end of 2013.
"It has been a pleasure having Rob in our team for the last four years and we will miss him both personally and professionally," said deputy team principal at Williams, Claire WIlliams. "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."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing