Williams have dismissed the threat posed by an improving Lotus, believing the Enstone team will remain behind them until the end of the season.
That comes as Lotus says it’s now ready to join the “second group” behind Mercedes and Ferrari, which currently consists of Red Bull and Williams.
“I believe that Williams, Red Bull and ourselves will fight for the positions behind Mercedes and Ferrari, who are still quite a long way in front,” said deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi.
However Williams’ chief technical officer, Pat Symonds, doubts Lotus will be fighting them for position, citing the budget difference as a factor.
“No, I think that they’ve got a good car and they’ve moved forward a lot and well done to them,” added the Briton.
“But like many teams, they really are quite tight on budget and therefore I think the development they’ll be able to do is somewhat limited.
“It’s early to say that they’re not a threat – they’re not a threat right at the moment. And my supposition is that it’ll be difficult for them to out-develop us. But one never knows.”