Smedley set to move to Williams after Pujolar exit

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Chief race engineer at Williams Xevi Pujolar is set to leave the team in order to take up a role with Toro Rosso, paving the way for Rob Smedley to leave Ferrari and re-join Felipe Massa next season.

As reported by veteran journalist Adam Cooper today, Pujolar, who joined Williams in 2011, will leave the Oxfordshire-based team in order to take up a role with Toro Rosso. Although Williams has failed to live up to the expectations of many in 2013 by picking up just five points, Pujolar was instrumental in the team’s excellent 2012 campaign when he worked as Pastor Maldonado’s race engineer. He was promoted to the role of chief race engineer this season, but it appears that a move to Toro Rosso is now on the cards.

This will allow Smedley to move to Williams for the 2014 season. The Briton has worked at Ferrari for almost a decade and as Massa’s race engineer since 2006. Together, the pair have built up a close working relationship, with Smedley telling the BBC how he considers Massa to be a “little brother” whom he has nicknamed ‘Phillip’.

Although moving from Ferrari to Williams may seem like an odd move, Smedley would enjoy a bigger role with the British team. He would most probably directly replace Pujolar as chief race engineer, meaning that he would not be working directly with Massa on the team radio as we have seen in previous years. Instead, it is possible that Pastor Maldonado’s engineer, Andrew Murdoch, would be working with Massa as his race engineer. Smedley would also be working with Massa’s teammate in 2014, Valtteri Bottas.

With the arrival of Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari, it was always thought unlikely that Smedley would be able to continue in his current role. Raikkonen is known for his affinity for minimal communication over the radio, something that has sparked many a humorous radio exchange in his time with Lotus.

Smedley has history with Williams, having worked for the team’s touring car operation back in the 1990s.

Cooper also reported today that Sauber’s head of track engineering Tom McCullough would also be switching team, expressing a desire to return to the UK that is thought to be Force India.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”