Williams: Ferrari may have caught up


Aside from Ferrari getting involved in the mix, Claire Williams reckons the form book "hasn't really changed" from last season.

Formula 1 has its first look at the potential pecking order for the coming season when the cars took the track at Jerez last week.

Ferrari shone over the four days, topping the timesheets on all but one day. And on the day the Scuderia were not quickest, they were second.

As such, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel finished with the week's two fastest times ahead of Felipe Nasr and Nico Rosberg.

Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were seventh and eighth, 1.4s off the pace.

"From the times that we’ve seen, we’re probably there or thereabouts from where we ended the season last year," Williams told Sky Sports News HQ.

"The formbook hasn’t really changed – every team seems to be in a similar position. Ferrari may have caught up a little bit, but we’re pretty happy with the progress we’ve made."

Asked whether Williams expect to turn last year's form into race wins this season, the deputy team principal said: "I like to hope rather than expect. But that [winning races]’s got to be our goal.

"We finished third in the championship last year which was such a major achievement for us, but our goals this year are to improve on that. We want those wins this year and Felipe and Valtteri on the top step of the podium."

Williams also weighed in on rumours linking Bottas to a possible move to Ferrari – or another top team – in 2016.

She said: "Valtteri has been with us for a long time. We were the team that brought him into Formula 1 and he feels hugely comfortable within our team. He’s forged a really strong bond.

"Of course, he’s a racing driver and wants to have the fastest car. I think those comments were taken out of context. At the moment we’re providing him with a competitive race car that finished the season probably the closest to the Mercedes on the grid, so why wouldn’t he want to stay with us?

"I spend a lot of time with him and I talk to him a lot and I know that where he wants to be at the moment is Williams."