Felipe Massa has warned that Williams performance trajectory is going in the opposite direction to that of their rivals as he and team mate Lance Stroll were dumped out of qualifying at the Q1 stage in Belgium.
Massa finished 16th in Saturday’s session, two places ahead of Stroll, who was unable to even attempt a final run after his car lost a rear wing endplate.
It’s the third time in the last four races that Williams have seen both cars eliminated in the opening segment of qualifying, having previously gone nearly three years without suffering the fate.
“I was happy with my lap time but the car is not competitive enough,” rued Massa afterwards.
“It’s quite disappointing to go out of qualifying in Q1. It shows the main issue on the car is we’re not going forward.
“The others are going forwards, we are going backwards. It is pretty clear that we need to really improve development, we need to improve the pieces we put on the car to make the car better. That’s not what’s happening at the moment.”
Williams’ disappointing qualifying performance was the latest setback in what has been a torrid weekend for the team so far.
Massa went into the session with a five-place grid drop hanging over him, having been adjudged to have ignored yellow flags in final practice. That followed a heavy crash for the Brazilian in FP1, which necessitated a chassis change that forced him out of FP2, while Stroll was sent out with the wrong tyres on his car during the same session, earning the team a 10,000 Euro fine.
Williams currently sit fifth in the constructors’ standings, two points ahead of Toro Rosso, and given their lowly starting positions, Massa, who missed the last race in Hungary through illness, admits it will be tough to add to their tally - not that he won’t be giving his all.
“We have nothing to lose,” said the 36-year-old veteran. “We just need to try everything we can and if we can score even a single point tomorrow it’ll be a great result.”