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Rob Smedley

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Rob Smedley

Rob Smedley
2010 Canadian Grand Prix
Personal information
Nationality British
Born (1973-11-28) 28 November 1973 (age 40)
Middlesbrough (England)
Country  United Kingdom
Sport Formula One
Team Scuderia Ferrari

Rob Smedley (born 28 November 1973 in Normanby, Middlesbrough, England) is a race engineer for Formula One driver Felipe Massa at Scuderia Ferrari.

Smedley's radio transmissions to Massa have even achieved cult status, with many Ferrari fans putting his messages on their mobile phones as ringtones.[1]

Biography and career

Smedley attended St Peter's School in South Bank before going to St Mary's Sixth Form College. He lived in Normanby until he was 18, before going to Loughborough University and beginning his rise through the ranks in motorsport.[2] He initially studied a degree in mathematics and mechanical engineering, before going onto complete a master's degree.[3]

With his main field of activity in chassis engineering, he began with Peugeot in 1997 where he worked as a suspension design engineer for the touring car team. He then went on to work in Formula 3000 and the Williams touring car team before making his first foray into Formula One with the Jordan Grand Prix team.

Initially at Jordan, Smedley worked as a data acquisition engineer, overviewing all of the telemetric data that was used by the team's race engineer to support the racing driver. During 2002 and 2003 he went on to be a track engineer for Jordan, before moving to the Ferrari test team at the end of the 2003 season. Smedley initially chose to work on the Ferrari test team because of the possibility to make more technical input, something which is more limited in the race team.

In the middle of the 2006 season, he replaced Gabriele Delli Colli as Felipe Massa's race engineer. Almost immediately Massa’s form improved; his previously common errors became less frequent,[4] and in August 2006, Massa took his first Formula One pole position and victory at the Turkish Grand Prix. Smedley is noted for his very frank and occasionally humorous radio transmissions to Massa. This includes at the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix when he was heard clearly saying "Felipe baby, stay cool"[1] after Massa was complaining about not having a clear visor for the wet race which was being restarted.[5]

Following Massa's injury at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, Smedley carried on with the role of race engineer for stand-in drivers Luca Badoer and Giancarlo Fisichella as they took over Massa's seat for the remainder of the 2009 season.

Rob Smedley was awarded an honorary degree ("Doctor of Professional Studies") from Teesside University in 2009.[6]

2010 German Grand Prix

At Hockenheim Smedley delivered a very terse radio instruction, "OK, so, Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?", towards the end of the race when Massa was in the lead. Massa then allowed Alonso to overtake him and win the race. Following the pass on lap 49 Smedley added 'OK mate good lad, stick with him now, sorry.'[7] After the race Ferrari were fined $100,000 for breaching race regulations concerning team orders but the result was allowed to stand.

Career summary

  • 1997-1998: suspension engineer - Peugeot (BTCC)
  • 1999: engineer in the test team - Williams (BTCC)
  • 2000: track engineer in Formula 3000
  • 2001: data acquisition engineer - Jordan Grand Prix (F1)
  • 2002-2003: track engineer - Jordan Grand Prix (F1)
  • 2004-2005: engineer in the test team - Scuderia Ferrari (F1)
  • 2006-2013: race engineer to Felipe Massa - Scuderia Ferrari (F1)

Personal life

Smedley now lives in Italy, due to his work for Ferrari. He is married to Lucy, a former native of Redcar, and has two sons, Frankie and Felix. The Smedleys hold fundraising events on Teesside to support the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society, SANDS, after the death of their daughter Minnie in 2007.[8]


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