Williams F1 drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas are confident they can mount a serious challenge to Ferrari and Mercedes in 2016. Williams has not repeated its glory years of the 1980s and 1990s when they won nine constructors championships and seven world titles, but they have been on an upward curve recently. Valtteri Bottas finished fifth and Felipe Massa sixth in the standings as Williams ended the season in a comfortable third place in the constructors.

"We finished third in the last two years," veteran Brazilian Felipe Massa said at a media day in Italy on 9 March. "We want to finish at least second we will try everything we can. We know it is not easy, it is difficult. The other teams are working hard as well. Third is already a great result for us, but we are looking forward to getting better and fighting for better results.

"We are working really hard to improve the car in the slow corners, that is something we were struggling a little bit last year. We really want to get close to Mercedes and Ferrari and having a better championship. We had a very good two championships 2014 and 2015 and I really hope that 2016 will be our best championship. And get back to victories and fight with these teams. I trust in the team that we can do it."

Flying Finn Bottas, 26, was equally bullish about the coming season, which will see Mercedes and defending world champion Lewis Hamilton start as heavy favourites.

"In 2016 there are small little things with the tyres, with the regulations," he said. "We are allowed to choose a little bit more in detail what kind of tyres we can use during the race weekend. Technically the car hasn't changed a lot, a little bit better engine sound which is good. Our new car in testing it felt nice. I think we have made progress in the weaknesses that we have had with the old car. We are going forward all the time, and I hope the season will be more combative than last year.

"We are expecting more from 2016. We want to make a step forward as a team and so do I as a driver. We are doing everything we can to try and be a little bit more combative. I would guess it is going to be a little bit closer among all the teams."