Williams makes progress

Following a second day of testing its new FW26 chassis at Valencia on Tuesday, Williams' chief operations engineer Sam Michael has told AUTOSPORT that the team is "miles ahead" of where it was this time last year

Williams makes progress

Both Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher drove the radical-looking car at Valencia this morning (Tuesday), and although the main purpose of the day was filming the new machine, it is understood to have worked its way down to times in the 1m11sec bracket. This is around a second off the pace set by David Coulthard in the new McLaren in late November, but Michael is upbeat about the way the car is progressing.

"It was mostly TV work today," Michael told AUTOSPORT. "We did get a couple of runs with both drivers and the initial comments about the car are very positive. We're already miles in front of where we were last year.

"Although it was difficult for everybody here working so hard over Christmas, it's all paid massive dividends now. Obviously the first signs of this car are very positive. Drivers and the team are encouraged, and we're looking forward to developing it now. All the signs are strong."

Williams moves to Jerez on Wednesday for the first of seven days of running. Montoya and Schumacher will each get three days of dry testing, as the seventh will be held in artificially wet conditions. Two cars should be available for the following test in Barcelona.

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