Williams are expected to arrive at their home British Grand Prix with upgrades that many anticipate will see their lap times in qualifying improve by a second.
On average, Williams have been the slowest team in qualifying this season, with 16 eliminations in Q1 – five more than Aston Martin.
Two points scores from Alex Albon have not been enough to stop Aston Martin from climbing above them as Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll begin to enjoy some points scoring form, but the Grove-based team’s fortunes might be about to change.
A new aerodynamic package set to be installed onto the car in Silverstone this weekend will, according to Formula 1 journalist Lawrence Barretto, earn them a second in qualifying, and that sort of time gain could see them consistently getting into Q2, with occasional Q3 appearances.
This does not account for the improvements other teams are set to make over the next few rounds of course, or indeed how much red dye Albon puts in his hair.
Head of vehicle performance at Williams, Dave Robson, confirmed to Motorsport.com that the alterations are having the desired effect in the trials they have conducted.
“We have an updated aero package for this weekend, which will run on Alex’s car only as we look to check its behaviour and confirm that it is working as intended,” he said.
“The bodywork and floor form the basis of the upgrade and are intended to efficiently increase the downforce of the car.
“We are looking forward to our home race and to understanding the new parts; they are likely to change the balance and the handling of the car and it may take a little bit of time to harness them so that the drivers can get the most from them.
“With next week’s race in Austria being a sprint event, we will be looking to get as much learning done this weekend as possible.”
One of the challenges with Silverstone is managing the balance between straight-line speed, fast, technical corners and a heavy braking zone at the Vale chicane.
It leads to somewhat of a setup conundrum and, depending on the aerodynamic efficiency of the car, it can also affect tyre wear.
Robson indicated that Williams are trying to strike a balance where none of their performance in compromised with this latest upgrade.
“If you put the aero balance up, probably where you’d ideally like it for the high-speed corners, you then run into some problems on the exit of those low-speed corners,” he added.
“There’s also the way you set the car up, how does it interact with the tyres, it is a massively demanding circuit for the tyres now.
“The front left takes a hammering because of those quick right-hand corners.
“So you’ve got to be careful about how you get around those corners and use the aero balance and the mechanical balance actually to complement each other so that you don’t just wear the front left tyre out.”
Williams are currently 12 points behind ninth-placed Haas in the Constructors’ Standings, with Aston Martin a further point up the road.