Although Paddy Lowe is expecting a fierce battle behind F1’s top three teams, he is hoping that a “step change” in performance can keep Williams in the hunt.
Williams became the second team to launch their 2018 challenger, taking the covers off the Halo-adorned FW41 in London on Thursday.
The car is the first designed under Lowe’s watch following the technical chief’s move from Mercedes.
And while Lowe acknowledges that Williams are set to face still competition this season, he believes Williams can step up to the challenge.
“We are trying to achieve an element of step change and not just a progression,” explained Lowe.
“We were two seconds or so a lap slower than the front runners [in 2017] and that is something we would like to close up considerably.
“So we are looking for a step change.
“We are hoping to be well up there, but we recognise some incredible competition out there.
“Obviously the front three teams are established in a good position.
“We have Force India who did a terrific job last year and beat us in the championship.
“We also have McLaren with a different engine: they will be a threat. And we have Renault emerging.
“So that is already six out of the nine teams we are competing against. We don’t take anything for granted.”