18 JANUARY, 2017 – Williams’ Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley spent time with the F4 British Championship on the MSA stand at the Autosport International show, to see where Formula 1’s next generation of drivers and engineers are coming from.
Early in his career Smedley gained valuable experience in the BTCC; the championship which British F4 is the sole single-seater support series for on the live-televised TOCA package.
The man from Middlesbrough who has risen through the ranks with successful spells at Stewart Grand Prix, Jordan Grand Prix and Scuderia Ferrari enthused about the talent emerging from the UK’s most competitive single-seater championship: “Williams is always looking for talent, both driving and engineering, throughout the spectrum of the lower formula.
“We look at British F4 for these talents. As far as we are concerned, the earlier we can get them on our books the better.
“The fact that British F4 has OEM backing gives it added credibility. Having any blue-chip company involved definitely helps in this respect.
“The British F4 cars are great. They are well engineered and ideal for young drivers to cut their teeth in.”
The F4 British Championship is the UK’s official FIA F4 series and Smedley paid testament to the opportunities for development it provides: “At this level of motorsport British F4 is the best when you consider the costs involved and what drivers are going to get out of competing in the championship.
“British F4 allows them to hone their race skills. It gives them the chance to learn about both engineering and driving, and this works really well.”