Pierre Gasly says Williams has made “enormous progress” and AlphaTauri must now regard it as another midfield opponent in Formula 1.
Williams spent 2019 marooned at the back of the grid, failing to make it out of Q1 all season, as its car sometimes lapped over a second slower than its nearest rival.
Williams is still the only team yet to score a point in 2020 but has displayed an upturn in pace, particularly in qualifying, with George Russell classifying 12th in Q2 at the last pair of events.
“Williams has clearly made enormous progress and can now be considered as part of the mid-field battle as are Renault,” said Gasly.
“Now it’s down to us to close on those in front and hopefully overtake them.
“I think we can say we have a car that is honest, although we know there are things that need to be improved, especially in terms of aero. We can find more performance there.
“The car has no major weaknesses in any particular area. We have to improve two or three things to get a car that is better balanced. The most important thing is to find a bit more downforce.
“We have to consider that, in the midfield, several teams have made a big step from last year, especially Racing Point and McLaren and right away that has made for a bigger gap between them and us.”
Gasly’s AlphaTauri team-mate Daniil Kvyat added: “The battle in the midfield seems to be much closer than last year.
“For example, Racing Point has made a big step forward and they are ahead of us and I think that also applies to McLaren. Those two will make life tough.”