Spanish GP: Williams expect 'long journey' back to F1 midfield
Claire Williams on the uphill challenge ahead for the team this season in Sky Sports interview
Last Updated: 09/05/19 8:05pm
Williams have conceded it is already going to be "very difficult" for them to move away from the back of the F1 field in 2019.
The former world champions have endured a hugely-disappointing start to the year, with the team playing catch-up ever since production delays meant they missed the first two days of winter testing.
They are the only team yet to score a point after four races, with their FW40 consistently lapping one second and more off the back of the pack.
Claire Williams, the outfit's deputy team boss, insists they will do all they can to improve on the stopwatch in 2019, but admits making concrete ground up the order this year is going to be very challenging.
"I think that's quite a long journey back to the midfield for us. We're nearly a second and a half on average away from P9 [the ninth-fastest team] and that's a huge amount of time to make up in Formula 1," she said in an interview with Sky Sports News at the Spanish GP.
"But we are bringing test items to every race, we've got to evaluate those and we've got to hope that they do deliver that performance.
"It's going to be very difficult to move away from where we are for this year, certainly. But for us it's about how much time can we make up.
"If we ended this year one, two seconds quicker… everyone else is going to move forwards as well, we've got to take that into consideration.
"It is a journey for us at the moment and it is going to take time - we always said that."
After finishing 10th and last for the first time in their history in 2018, Williams are under no illusions about the likely length of the turnaround process.
"We knew it was going to be tough for us again in 2019 and it's about staying on the path that we're on, not deviating from it and not getting freaked out because things aren't looking as we'd like them to," she added. "Things take time in Formula 1 and we just need a bit of patience."
Williams expect drain compensation
While little had gone right for Williams up to the last race in Azerbaijan, the Baku event provided fresh disappointment for the team when a freak incident caused thousands of pounds' worth of car damage.
The floor of George Russell's car was destroyed when the FW40 ran over a loose manhole cover during Friday practice - an incident which has since prompted a compensation claim.
"We've been talking to the promoters, we did as soon as the event happened," Williams told SSN in Spain.
"And they have been very good to make sure they listened to us and they're handing us over to their insurance people. Hopefully that claim will be dealt with quickly."
Compounding the frustration, Russell revealed on Thursday that the drain damage had caused further complications for the team ahead of Barcelona.
"A lot of teams will bring sizeable upgrades to this weekend but, unfortunately, a lot due to the Baku incident everything had pretty much stopped in the production to rebuild the chassis, rebuild floors and additional parts that were broken from that incident," said Russell.
"We have got a few delays due to that so it may be a few races down the line before we start seeing a few more improvements."
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