Williams F1 team is aware of the threat that comes from Renault powered McLaren in 2018, says the team’s technical chief, Paddy Lowe.
Although Williams retained its fifth place for the second year in a row, its points haul was down by 55 compared its total in 2016.
In 2017, McLaren faced another tough year owing to the unreliability of the Honda engines. The outfit scored only 30 points and finished ninth in the team standings.
But the British team is known for its chassis, and from this season, they will be powered by Renault engine, giving them the boost needed to jump to the foreground.
“It will be interesting,” said Lowe of McLaren’s potential. “Honda have looked reasonably strong towards the end of the season so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of step or not McLaren make over the winter.
“They are a competitor to be respected, so we’ve certainly got our eye on them.”
Although Williams could not displace Force India from the fourth place, Lowe says he is happy with the development work the team has done by the end of the 2017 season.
“Some of the results we’ve had have felt as good as a race win, as an achievement on the day, particularly Felipe [Massa]’s seventh in Brazil,” he said.
“That was tremendous, particularly as he had a car that wasn’t quick enough for that result. That’s when you see great teamwork.
“Getting the best out of what you’ve got requires incredible teamwork, whether it’s a winning car or a midfield car.
“We’ve had some losses, some errors, but overall the team has done a great job to pull that together. We would have liked to have been fourth.
“All credit to Force India, they have done a fantastic job, they deserve the position they’ve had.
“But holding on to fifth when you look round at the competition is not to be taken for granted.
“Particularly in the last third of the season, you won’t know what we’ve done, but there is quite a lot of lap time we’ve brought to the car just to stand still and hold on to that place.
“It’s a really good performance programme we’ve had.”