Rob Smedley seems to set to follow Felipe Massa
in making the move from Ferrari
for the 2014 F1 season.
Smedley has been Massa's race engineer since 2006, with the pair having developed a strong working relationship in the years that have followed.
on a recruitment drive as it seeks to bounce back from a 2013 season that has been nothing short of a disaster, Smedley is widely expected to be one of its new recruits although deputy team principal Claire Williams
denied that any deal had been done – and insisted it would be independent of the agreement with Massa.
"They don't come as a package," she told the BBC
. "They come separately. They are very much their own people. So if Rob Smedley was to join our team, it has to be on his terms, and he has to be given a role he wants to do and that may or may not be Felipe's race engineer. Felipe is grown-up enough to join a team without bringing his race engineer with him.
"We're working very hard to address the problems we have in-house. We have some great talent in Williams
but we need to make sure we have all the talent we need to perform right at the top.
"So I'm hoping that before the end of the season or maybe slightly after we'll be making some more announcements in a similar vein to Massa. Whether that involves a certain engineer or other engineers I can't tell you."
Williams added that the signing of Massa was an indication of the team's desire to bounce back next year and show that it is still capable of running at the front of the field.
"We've done a lot of work this year in order to turn this team around and we want to tell the world that,” she said. "Williams are not satisfied with coming ninth in the championship.
“This is another piece of our jigsaw to tell the world that Williams
is determined to come back and determined to fight for world championships again."