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Smedley: Williams didn't invest enough in R&D

  • Published on 03 Jun 2019 18:34
  • comments 3
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Former head of vehicle performance at Williams Rob Smedley says that the Grove squad never invested enough in research and development, which led to its current struggles.

Williams currently finds itself at the back of the field, competing far off the pace of the next nearest team. Smedley, who worked at Williams for five years, oversaw the highs of Williams in the early years of the V6 era, and the lows that were apparent in 2018.

Speaking to Motorsport Magazine, Smedley described how bad decisions were made which left the team not investing enough money in research and development.

"The team clearly needed a lot of work,” he said. “We instilled lots of new engineering practices, but the next part of the journey was R&D investment and that never happened.

“If you want to be a true constructor, you have to have that level of investment or you’ll be left behind, regardless of how good your people might be.

“I don’t want to talk about particular individuals, but it’s clear some bad decisions have been taken for the team to be in its current position. It’s a real shame.”

"Light at the end of the tunnel" for Williams

Despite the situation Williams finds itself in, deputy team principal Claire Williams insists there will be "light at the end of the tunnel" going forward.

“I definitely feel that we can see some light at the end of the tunnel now and I think probably just from the time sheets and the last race in Barcelona, we demonstrated that we are closing that gap,” she said.

“It may be slow but we all know that it takes time to bring performance to your car. There’s definitely a lot of good work going on back at the factory that people may not necessarily be seeing yet.”

Replies (3)

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  • Feels like a reliable story. Looking back, Williams wasn't very impressive until they got the Merc' engine, and then they could survive on that for a few years. Now that that isn't enough to score podiums, they were left in the dust.

    • + 0
    • Jun 3 2019 - 18:52
  • Was wondering how long it would be before Smedley broke his silence. Don't know what he's doing but he would make a good addition to Liberty or the FIA. He was quite diplomatic, but it's clear bad decisions were made and as far as performance suggests, still are. Instead of telling us how long it takes to turn a car around Claire should be figuring out what McLaren has done and get to work! Lowe seems to kind of got caught in between. There's not much he can do if his R&D group isn't producing or properly funded. These kinds of problems in corporations usually get resolved by board and shareholder interventions.

    • + 0
    • Jun 3 2019 - 23:07
    • I believe he is in for an FIA role, if memory serves. I like Smedley, so won't mind having him around.

      • + 0
      • Jun 4 2019 - 05:45

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