Felipe Massa says he is conceding that Williams is unable to challenge the likes of Ferrari because the team 'cannot compare' with the structure of its better funded rivals.
The former title winning team has enjoyed a resurgence since the introduction of the current V6 Hybrid formula after several lean years, but its momentum has stalled since as it struggles to match the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari.
With the likes of Red Bull and potentially McLaren also a looming threat, Massa admits it is getting increasingly tough for Williams – on its more modest budget – to maintain its form against more formidable outfits
“We're fighting with much bigger teams than Williams,” he said. “We're trying to improve the car all the time, but Ferrari, for example, has a structure we cannot compare with. They're improving their chassis and so are we but while in the past we had a much better engine than theirs.
“Now they're on a very good level in this area too, so their package is now better ours. It's not easy for Williams to progress at the same rate as Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull or even McLaren, but we're fighting hard.
Though Massa feels the FW38 is a stronger package for the Spanish Grand Prix than its low key start to the weekend suggested, the Brazilian expects to move up the order come qualifying.
“The timesheets don't show the real pace of our car. I made a mistake on my first lap with the soft tyres, I went off in Turn 9, so I lost the best lap of the tyre. So our main problem is not the performance of the car but understanding the car, the tyres – here degradation is very high.”