Williams technical director Sam Michael said the team could still take great encouragement from Turkish Grand Prix qualifying even though it did not quite achieve its goal of a Q3 spot.
Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado took 11th and 14th on the grid, the team's best combined qualifying effort of the year so far, and the Brazilian was within 0.024sec of reaching the top 10 shootout. Michael was buoyed by that performance given that the team had had to revert to an older-spec rear wing and Maldonado was without KERS.
"We're heading in the right direction, thanks to a lot of hard work in the factory," Michael said. "Rubens starts the race in P11, and with new tires, and Pastor in P14.
"The day wasn't without issue, however, as we had to revert to the standard rear wing on both cars after signs of aerodynamic separation on the new version in practice. That cost us some top speed. In addition, Pastor's KERS wasn't working, which lost him a couple of places on the grid.
"These are not excuses but rather that with these issues resolved, we have cause for optimism. Our target now is to get both cars in the points."
Both drivers were also upbeat considering Williams's struggles so far in 2011.
"After all the work we have done this weekend at the factory and trackside, I have to always put a great lap together in qualifying and I'm very happy with my last lap," said Barrichello. "Unfortunately, though, we just ended up outside the top 10, which is not that penalizing with the tire situation. We also weren't running the new rear wing, which was one of our upgrades for this race, so it was a good qualifying session for us to finish 11th despite that."
Maldonado added: "That's the happiest I've felt after a qualifying session this season. The new parts the team have worked really hard to deliver to this race have definitely improved the car. It feels quicker and easier to drive so our efforts have paid off.
"Because of a problem, I haven't run KERS all weekend. If it was working in qualifying, we would have been three tenths quicker."