Pierre Gasly feels Williams‘ “enormous progress” with their FW42 means they can now be considered a Formula 1 midfield team again.
Williams has been in a league of their own for all the wrong reasons in recent years and, heading into the 2020 campaign, were cut way, way adrift from the back of the midfield pack to the point where George Russell and Robert Kubica were racing against themselves.
But, thankfully, there has been plenty of encouraging signs at Williams after both Russell and rookie Nicholas Latifi both managed to make it through to Q2 in Hungary.
Although race pace is still a main concern and Williams are the only team left not to score a World Championship point this season, Gasly thinks they have shown enough to be a threat to AlphaTauri.
“Looking at our performance, we have to consider that, in the midfield, several teams have made a big step from last year, especially Racing Point and McLaren and right away that has made for a bigger gap between them and us,” Gasly said.
“Williams has clearly made enormous progress and can now be considered as part of the midfield battle as are Renault.
“Now it’s down to us to close on those in front and hopefully overtake them.
“After completing three races, I think we can say we have a car that is honest, although we know there are things that need to be improved, especially in terms of aero. We can find more performance there.
“The car has no major weaknesses in any particular area. We have to improve two or three things to get a car that is better balanced. The most important thing is to find a bit more downforce.”
Gasly’s team-mate, Daniil Kvyat, also pinpointed Racing Point and McLaren as the major midfield threats.
Kvyat said: “The battle in the midfield seems to be much closer than last year, for example, Racing Point has made a big step forward and they are ahead of us and I think that also applies to McLaren.
“Those two will make life tough.
“With three races behind us, it’s still a bit hard to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our car.
“We are still working, me and the engineers, to find a solid baseline that we can start from at every race.
“In general, I was pleased with the race pace, but in quali in Budapest I was less happy with the car.
“But we think we know why that was and we are planning to try something different at Silverstone this weekend to see if we can improve.”