Felipe Massa feels Williams can re-emerge as a genuine force in Formula 1 following a string of impressive showings in testing from the all new FW36.
The multiple championship winning team is being tipped to shine alongside the pace leading Mercedes squad this weekend.
The Grove-based team has been languishing towards the rear of the grid for several seasons, desperate for a return of the days that saw them claim nine constructors titles in just 17 years to 1997.
New recruit Massa has been buoyed by the performance of the team’s 2014 challenger in pre-season testing ,which has been helped by the class leading Mercedes engine.
The Brazilian, who will line up alongside Finn Valtteri Bottas, believes this weekend could be the start of a renaissance for the team this year.
“I feel the team is really motivated. They want to grow, they want to get better and they want to be back in the good times,” Massa told assembled media in Melbourne.
“You can never forget that it was a very difficult time for Williams in the last years and it’s a lot to do, a lot of work, a lot of development going on inside the factory, inside the team.
“For sure we can be there. I don’t know how competitive we’re going to be compared to the other teams.
“Maybe we will see teams better than us – I don’t know. Maybe we can see ourselves fighting with them and be as competitive as the top teams like these three guys here – but I think it’s just the beginning.”
The arrival of Massa is just one of the changes behind the scenes at Williams during the off-season.
Former Renault boss Pat Symonds now heads the technical department while Massa’s experienced race engineer Rob Smedley has also moved to the Oxfordshire squad.
It appears the changes have indeed made the outfit stronger and Massa is hoping his experiences from Ferrari can lift the team even further.
“I’m really happy with the people I work with, they’re really professional,” added Massa.
”So many new people are arriving and there are many good ideas inside the team. Me as well.
“I’m trying to give as much experience, as many ideas as I can from my experience in a different team.”