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Schumacher's 2006 retirement left Ferrari 'rudderless', Smedley claims

Written by  Dec 04, 2018

Michael Schumacher's decision to retire from Formula 1 in 2006 left Ferrari "rudderless", former race engineer Rob Smedley claims.

The Briton got to see first hand the impact the German legend had on the Scuderia during the latter years of their domination in the early 2000s, initially as a test engineer before becoming the voice in Felipe Massa's ear as his race engineer.

Last month, Smedley revealed he would be taking time away from the sport to spend time with his family, having since left Maranello to join Williams in 2014, but looking back on his career he was asked if things changed at Ferrari without Schumacher at the helm.

"Totally. He was still involved in the team and there were thoughts at some point as to how involved he was going to be - he never wanted to do that and I think that was a shrewd move by Michael," he was quoted by GPFans.com.

"But he still had involvement in the team. It's always never going to be the same when he's not driving, when he's not giving you that day to day in testing and racing, that feedback of where we are, what needs improving, the areas we need to work and 'don't worry about that and worry about this instead'.

"So the dynamic completely changed and it's fair to say we all probably became a little bit rudderless without him."

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Smedley also offered an insight into what it was like to work with Schumacher and how he valued the hard hours done by everyone within Ferrari.

"My time at Ferrari that crossed with Michael, I was on the other car, so often we wouldn't see him until two days after the race," he explained.

"But he might've been at a race and completely dominated it and the first thing he did was come to the test team and go around every engineer, shake their hand and thank them and talk about stuff we'd done at the test.

"He was just a great guy to work with and I think once you've got leadership with people like that, it was kind of like the dream there between him Jean [Todt] and Ross [Brawn] and it was never going to fail to be honest. It was just so good."

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