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Williams placing its faith in Spagnolo

NEWS STORY
28/09/2016

While Antonio Spagnolo might not be one of the 'star names' of the F1 paddock, Williams performance chief Rob Smedley believes the recruitment of the former Ferrari race and performance engineer to Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will be a real game changer for the Grove outfit.

In an eleven year career with the Maranello outfit, Spagnolo rose through the ranks, finally being appointed head of the Italian team's tyre performance department, an area of particular weakness at Grove.

"It's an area where we were deficient, if you like," Smedley admitted to Autosport. "We've already created a group around Antonio, and he's come in, he's got his own ideas, he's an extremely clever guy.

"He's definitely helping us already with what we've been able to do from Friday to Saturday, to find our feet and get ourselves back into what I think is a reasonable position for this year's Williams. He is playing an integral part in just helping us understand tyres."

However, Smedley is the first to admit that the Italian's recruitment is not a cure all for the team's woes, and that it is deficient in other areas also. However, he reveals that Spagnolo's recruitment is the first move as the Grove outfit seeks to "understand our competitors' strengths and identifying areas of our performance which require prioritisation of resources".

"There's a lot of other stuff we need to do, and in the background of R&D as well," he added. "It's not just about what we're doing on a weekend and the day-to-day survival, but also about putting medium/long-term research and development in place that will bear fruit. It's to take us out of the performance field where we are now and on to the next level.

"It's not really just about trying to maximise what we've got, but looking where the next area of performance is," he added. "He will help us do that, along with his group, and we've some good young people in there, we've identified talents around Williams and outside of Williams. We're still actively recruiting and expanding.

"There's also a real long-term structure as to what we're doing with tyres, in terms of personnel and infrastructure and that's really the mentality the team has to have if we want to move forward."

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