Smedley prioritising small gains at Williams
Rob Smedley insists Williams has to focus on making gains across its entire operation rather than getting bogged down by trying to achieve one quick leap to the front of the pack.
Williams has yet to deliver on its huge winter promise this season, with Valtteri Bottas' 5th in Australia the highest it has finished so far. Having come across from Ferrari to become Williams' new head of vehicle performance, Smedley is convinced Williams can start to live up to that early potential if it does not get distracted by trying to do too much at once now the development battle steps up a gear with the return to Europe.
"I need to get things working better, working more efficiently, cut all the slack and mistakes out of it, and the reliability issues" Smedley said. "All of that will move us up the grid. I've come from somewhere where it's all very well sorted operationally, so perhaps some things are more obvious to me that they aren't to other guys.
"I make the analogy that at the other place [Ferrari] if you wanted an apple off the tree you needed a longer and longer stick, but here you are walking through and there are so many apples you don't know which one to pick. Part of what I need to do is make sure we are attacking the right areas first.
"You can't just run in and tackle every different area that you see, but you just have to see where the big wins are, that's the important and clever bit in F1 I think. You have to realise what those big wins are and what we can put off for a week or two, a month or two, or even a year, and what we need to do in the next few days and that's part of what I'm here to do."
Smedley believes Williams should be happy even if the improvements they make keep them exactly where they are rather than move them higher up the grid, given the competitive development fight this season, but is still quietly confident of a move up the pecking order.
"We need more development on the car, that's no doubt. [In China] we were again in a reasonable position in the top ten, we probably would have been in the sixth with Felipe. The developments which we've had and brought here were a really good team effort and have all clearly worked. But you're never going to see huge leaps on the grid, it's always incremental.
"We've got a, certainly from what I'm used to, reasonable step coming from the car which is really interesting. But I'm always loathe to say it's going to put us forward or whatever, it might just keep it where we are, but if that is what it does then that's good at least we are developing the car quick enough to keep up with everybody else."