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Hole in the wall // Williams confirm race engineer for Felipe Massa, and it's not Rob Smedley

Published by Christine Blachford

Williams confirm race engineer for Felipe Massa, and it's not Rob Smedley
Foto Studio Colombo

Felipe Massa is set to have a new race engineer at Williams, putting an end to the speculation that long-time friend and pit wall specialist Rob Smedley would follow the Brazilian to continue the partnership. Massa's performance in Formula One picked up considerably when he teamed up with Rob Smedley, the Brit able to talk his driver around laps in a way that saw real progress.

The pair of them narrowly missed out on the title together in 2008, and have been through many ups and downs since, including the harrowing time of Massa's accident during the Hungarian GP weekend in 2009. As one of the more famous race engineers in the paddock, the speculation over Smedley's future started immediately that Massa was confirmed at Williams. Would he join his friend at the new team?

Williams today confirmed their pit wall line up, tweeting: "Andrew Murdoch will be Race Engineer for @Felipe1Massa in 2014 whilst Jonathan Eddolls will continue with @ValtteriBottas." The news was a crushing blow for those who hoped that Rob and Felipe would continue their partnership through another era, although it wasn't a huge surprise.

In the summer break of 2011, Rob admitted that he wouldn't be keen on moving to another team just because Felipe did, and that his contract was with Ferrari and not the driver. He also admitted he didn't want to be a race engineer forever: "I think Ferrari are quite happy for me to do something like that... I wouldn’t follow him to a team, I think I’m coming to the natural end of that part of my career, and it’s time to move onwards and upwards."

That was two years ago, and since then he has continued as race engineer for the Brazilian driver. Now both parties have the chance for a fresh start, Massa with a new team and a new voice on the radio, and Smedley with whatever the future has in store for him.