Nicholas Latifi has said that the Williams FW43 is “definitely a step forward” compared to its predecessor from last year.
Although this year will be Latifi’s first season in a Formula 1 race seat, he spent last year at Williams as a development driver, and took part in six practice sessions over the course of the season, as well as carrying out a lot of simulator work for the team back at their factory in Grove.
As such, he is fully aware of the performance issues that engulfed the FW42 last year, but he is confident the grove-based team has made a significant improvement over the winter.
Speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference at the Australian Grand Prix about this year’s car, Latifi said: “It’s definitely a step forward. It’s difficult to quantify how much, because it’s always the same in winter testing, you never really know what people are doing with engine modes and fuel levels.
“But just from my first feeling in the car it was definitely much nicer to drive, giving the driver much more confidence to push and attack the corners, which is what you want.”
Williams spent the whole of last season marooned at the back of the grid, and scored their only point at a chaotic German Grand Prix, when Robert Kubica claimed 10th place after the two Alfa Romeos were disqualified.
And although Latifi is confident the team will be closer to the rest of the grid this year, he said that it is hard to know how much of an improvement they have made until the race weekend in Melbourne gets properly underway.
“We’re going to see come Saturday where we are in the pecking order.” added Latifi.
“We’re optimistic it definitely is a step forward but we’re just going to have to wait and see just how much.”