With Formula One’s summer break now over, Williams is ready to start making their push for “best of the rest” status among the constructors behind the Mercedes works team.
First task at hand is this weekend’s Shell Belgian Grand Prix at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps, which emphasizes big speeds and good aerodynamics – and should play into the hands of the Merc-powered Williams camp.
Last time out in Hungary, Valtteri Bottas’ streak of podiums was snapped at three with an eighth-place showing, while veteran teammate Felipe Massa did somewhat better with a fifth-place result.
But both drivers believe that Spa will see them fighting a bit higher up on the leaderboard.
“The long straights should suit our car and we can kick the second half of the season off with some success,” said Massa of the beloved, notorious Spa. “I won here in 2008 and so I know what it takes to win.
“I have had a really nice summer break but am ready to get back to racing. We have some great tracks to look forward to and I hope we can carry on developing our car like we did the first half of the season, and continue to be near the front.”
Bottas also said that he too was ready to get back to business after the break.
“To be competitive in Spa, you need a car with efficient aerodynamics, so we expect to be strong and are aiming for a good result,” said the Finn. “The break has been long, so I am really looking forward to getting back in the car.”
The first half of the year was a well-received return to form for the Grove gang, which currently sits fourth in the constructors’ standings.
But if they’re to overtake Ferrari for third (+7 on Williams) and then reach their lofty goal of hunting down defending World Champions Red Bull for second (+84 on Williams), they can’t rest on their laurels.
“…Everyone is living and learning how to race back at the top again,” said Rob Smedley, Williams’ head of vehicle performance. “Hopefully, everybody has come back refreshed and motivated for the second half of the season.
“The objectives within the team are clear: We want to finish as high up in the constructors table as possible.”
You can see if Williams gets off to a good start on that mission by watching the Shell Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.