Williams team principal Jost Capito has insisted the team has improved this season and has warned doubters not to have thoughts swayed by George Russell's "lucky shot" podium in Belgium last year.
The Grove-based team went through a renaissance last year after three seasons of pain, with Russell and Nicholas Latifi breaking a longstanding scoring duck at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
But Williams' eighth position in the constructors' standings was largely down to Russell's incredible qualifying lap at Spa-Francorchamps in the wet to finish second - a position he would keep after the race was controversially halted after two safety car laps.
This season has seen a slump in form with Russell's replacement Alex Albon securing only two top 10s in the opening 13 races.
Yet Capito is adamant that the performances are improved upon last year and the seasons preceding.
The team was taken over by Dorilton Capital midway through 2020 in the heart of its barren spell and asked if he felt performances were falling back to a similar level, Capito told GPFans: "I think we're still better than they were at that time.
"We're still better when you see the gaps, [they] are much closer than they were in recent years.
"Last year we were, we have to say, we were lucky with the points. The major points we got at Spa, we were lucky.
"That was not on the pure speed of the car."
Capito measuring speed, not points
Despite regularly occupying the rear of the field, the pace of the FW44 has shown potential with Albon's two points finished and Latifi's outstanding qualifying effort at Silverstone to reach Q3.
"Where we see from the speed, we [have] now closed the gap to quite a lot of teams," said Capito.
"This is where we measure ourselves against, is not in championship position, because there, you can have the lucky shot like last year.
"Then we generally check where we are on speed to the others, and how we develop that race by race."