Technical director Mike Coughlan says he feels Williams will be more competitive when F1 hits the track in Bahrain this weekend.
The team has endured a tough start to the season and has failed to score so far with the FW35, with eleventh for Valtteri Bottas in Malaysia being the team's best result to date.
Williams has already said that it is hoping to make progress when F1 returns to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix, with major upgrades planned at circuit where the team clinched victory through Pastor Maldonado last year.
Prior to that however, Coughlan said he felt the car could be at its most competitive so far in Bahrain this weekend, with a number of factors combining to give confidence that a stronger showing is possible in the Gulf State.
“Bahrain is a circuit that has some key characteristics that will present new challenges for the teams,” Coughlan said. “It's a high braking circuit so brake wear will be a factor, it is tough on rear tyres and it has a high ambient temperature. We feel that the current car, whilst not as competitive as we would like, will be more competitive in Bahrain because of these factors.
“For engines it is a high power, high efficiency circuit that places a premium on straight line speed and the Renault engine should be robust at this sort of circuit. It's been disappointing not to score points in our first three races, but we can be pleased with the fact that Valtteri has managed to bring the car home in every race so far with very solid drives.”
Both drivers admitted that tyre wear could prove to be an issue over the course of the weekend, with Bottas insisting that Friday practice would be vital for the team getting its set-up right for the remainder of the weekend.
“It's been a very busy start to my career with two back to back races in a row, but it has meant that I have had a lot of time in the car and the chance to try and understand its characteristics,” he said. “The track in Bahrain isn't used much throughout the year so can be quite green and the dusty surface means that the conditions can change quite a lot from one session to another, so it will be important to keep searching for the best grip on each lap.
“The tyres also tend to drop off quite a lot at this circuit so in Friday practice we need to try and find a good car setup to maximise the long run performance for the race so we can keep the tyres alive longer than others.”