Norris says ‘closer’ Williams now within midfield battle

McLaren’s Lando Norris believes his team will need to factor in Williams as a midfield contender this season.

Sir Frank Williams’ outfit is determined to put behind it its last two dismal campaigns when the championship hopefully kicks off later this year.

The Grove-based squad is relying on its improved 2020 FW43 design to finally pull itself up the grid, and Norris believes Williams will be successful in its enterprise.

“I think Williams are much closer,” the Mclaren charger told Autosport. “They’re within the battle, basically, so we need to think about them.

“It’s not like we don’t have to include them on our strategy, or choose when to pit around them.

    Williams wants F1 to curb close team alliances

“Now we have to include them, and we’re going to be racing them. It’s not going to be easy to pass them.

“We just have to be a bit more aware there’s another team now involved.

“Apart from that, I think it’s not too dissimilar to how it was last year.”

Like his colleagues, Norris was impressed by the performance in pre-season testing of Racing Point’s RP19 whose designer Andy Green has taken his cue from championship-winning Mercedes 2019 W10.

“From pre-season testing, straight from the off, they looked very competitive,” Norris admitted.

“They just have a car which performs well everywhere. I think they’re just going to start all the weekends off very well.

“It’s difficult to know how much they were showing what they could do and so on, or how much they started showing maybe too much, so then they held back more towards the end.

“They’re either going to be a long way ahead, or they’re within the battle, or maybe just in front. I’m not too sure.

“Compared to last year, they’ve taken a big step forward, but it’s obviously clear why.”

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