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Smiles at Williams but 'still a long way to go'

Smiles at Williams but 'still a long way to go'

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Smiles at Williams but 'still a long way to go'

Smiles at Williams but 'still a long way to go'

Claire Williams concedes "there is still a long way to go" to get her team back to being competitive in Formula 1, but for now she cannot keep a smile off her face following the start to pre-season testing.

A year ago Williams missed the first two and a half days of testing due to delays in its car production that preceded the worst campaign in its history as it scored just one point to finish last in the constructors' championship.

A year on, and the FW43 enjoyed a productive opening two and a half days until rookie Nicolas Latifi stopped towards the end of the pit straight at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya less than an hour before lunch on the third and final day on Friday of the opening test.

Speaking prior to that stoppage, Williams said: "I have a smile on my face that hasn't come off since Wednesday morning.

"After the dramas of last year, it was great to see the car head out first on Wednesday morning. A huge amount of effort had obviously gone into achieving that.

"Getting your car out first doesn't win you any prizes, but for us, it was just another milestone on our journey to recovery, and it was important for us to return a little bit of pride and dignity to the team after last year."

The objectives for this year are simple: "to make progress", according to Williams, which for her means seeing the team no longer enduring an intra-team back-of-the-grid squabble, as was the case in 2019 between George Russell and Robert Kubica, but rather enjoying a competitive midfield battle again.

"We want to go racing," said Williams. "We're here in Formula One to go racing. It's why Williams exists. We're not here to do anything else because we love racing.

"Last year we just weren't racing. Robert and George were racing each other.

"We want to be coming to each and every race (this year) being able to fight for, probably realistically, a Q2 position, and then to fight for a position in the race that brings our pride back, and that George and Nicolas have the opportunity to fight with the midfield competitors.

"We're in a good place but there is still a lot of work to do in preparation for Melbourne (the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 15).

"We feel we've made a step forward, but there is still an awful lot of work to do to get the car in the best possible shape that it needs to be going into Melbourne."

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