Rob Smedley and Felipe Massa
Ferrari's secret F1 weapon (from Teesside)
Amid the smoking tyres, screaming engines and implausibly structured young women that signify the Formula One circus is in town, quietly walks a man with a lot on his mind. Ferrari has its hopes pinned on his ideas. He went to school in South Bank.
Rob Smedley is described as 'the man behind the man'. He is the Ferrari chief engineer who has helped Ferrari's Felipe Massa find his form this season.
After being dragged along by his dad to a race at the age of 11, Rob fell in love with motor racing and even though his careers advisor told him to 'forget dreaming and go work for British Steel', Rob persevered and is now at the very pinnacle of his profession.
Rob went to St Peters School in South Bank, before moving on to St Mary's College in Middlesbrough from where he went to Loughborough University where he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Although he is living the dream, as many of us would see it, Rob is an uneasy hero. "That's one of the most difficult parts of the job. I get a lot of letters off young guys all the time, asking how to get into Formula One and what the best paths to take are and a lot of them I don't think realise just how much hard work it is for everybody, including the drivers."
August 2008: After winning the European Grand Prix
Rob and his wife Lucy, from Redcar, have begun holding fundraising events on Teesside to support the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society, SANDS, after the death of their daughter Minnie in 2007.
Talking to BBC Tees in September 2008, Lucy said: "I gave birth to our 2nd baby, Frankie, four weeks ago. It's really important for us as a couple to raise awareness about stillbirth and baby loss and we also like to always mention that we have two children, not just one."
last updated: 25/11/2008 at 15:15