Williams head of vehicle development Rob Smedley has said that the team has learned how to be successful once again following a difficult few years.
The British team has made a sensational start to the season, ranking fourth in the constructors’ and entering battle with the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull. Such form was unthinkable twelve months ago, at which time the team had just one point to its name.
Smedley even went as far to suggest that the team could challenge Mercedes for victory at the next two races in Belgium and Italy thanks to the high-speed nature of the circuits.
“It’s a possibility,” he said when asked about Williams’ chances of winning one of the next two races.
“As I’ve quite often said, the ambition of the team is to win the world championship, and in order to win the world championship you have to beat everybody. I think we know that the world championship is a little bit one-sided this year, but that doesn’t stop us preparing ourselves for the years to come.
“Running at the front and winning races is something that this team needs to relearn how to do. You saw that once we relearned how to be slick enough to get podiums they kept falling out of the jackpot machine at us.”
Williams has indeed been one of the most impressive teams over the past few races, scoring three podium finishes in the past four grands prix and locking out the front row at the Austrian Grand Prix in June. Now, the focus will be on continuing this at Spa and Monza.
“I’m reasonably confident that our car can go well in both of those races,” Smedley said. “But I’ve said before that we don’t fear anywhere really.”
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”