'Too early to tell' but Williams hoping for Q2 and midfield battles in 2020

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Williams is targeting a return to the midfield in 2020, this after a much-improved start to pre-season testing this week.

Halfway through the third day of testing last year, the British team was only just hitting the track for the first time following production delays.

12 months on, Williams has completed 296 laps over the same period and deputy team boss Claire Williams is obviously pleased with the progress.

“Obviously you’re going through a period of learning in testing and we’ve got a very comprehensive run plan that’s going according to schedule," she told FormulaSpy.

"We had a small issue that needed investigating that cost us a few kilometres yesterday but Wednesday was very comprehensive and today is going well as well. From talking to the drivers, they say it’s a lot more balanced and stable than last year. We’re in a good place.

“It’s too early to tell where anyone is, as we’re all just doing our individual programmes rather than comparing data against others, but certainly, we feel like we’ve made a step forward.

"Still an awful lot of work to do to get the car right for Melbourne where we’ll truly understand where we are. I’m sure we’ll get more data next week when we see people doing qualifying runs.”

But with a much more solid footing from which to build on heading into the start of the season, Williams is hoping the gains will be enough to avoid a repeat of last year's loneliness at the back of the grid.

“We want to go racing, that’s why Williams exists and why we’re here in Formula 1," Claire stated. "We’re here because we love racing and last year we just weren’t racing.

"Robert and George were racing each other and we want to be going to races and fighting for, realistically, a Q2 position and then to fight for position in the race that brings our pride back. So George and Nicholas can fight with the midfield competitors.

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“We’re on a journey to recovery and still putting the bricks in the wall to achieve that," Williams noted.

"Everyone in the team…we’ve gone through huge transformation and change and what we’d like to see now is the rewards.

"The business is unrecognisable from where we were, whether that be structures, policies, procedures, how we go about designing and racing is very different compared to 2018 and prior to that. Continuing to learn, and learning over this year and continue to make improvements.

“I’m glad all the changes we’ve made have been embraced by everyone in the team and we are starting to see rewards from the changes. But a long way to go compared to where we want to see Williams.”