Force India boss and chairman Dr Vijay Mallya has said he is confident his team can beat Renault in F1 2010 and secure fifth place in the constructors' championship even though it is 'very tight'.

Currently the Silverstone-based outfit has scored 18 points, thanks to three points finishes in as many events, with Adrian Sutil taking fifth place in Malaysia two weeks ago and Vitantonio Liuzzi finishing seventh in Australia and ninth in Bahrain.

Furthermore while Renault has already opened up a 12 point gap, Mallya still maintains Force India can end the year 'best of the rest' after the 'big four' - namely Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull Racing and Mercedes.

"The grid is very tight as we saw in Malaysia and Australia and there's no clear delineation between the front and the midfield. The most important thing at this stage though is that we are still up there fighting," Mallya said ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

"Renault look very strong right now but there's still a lot more races to go this year and we have a clear direction about where we are going that will keep us with them, or hopefully leapfrog them.

"The drivers are confident and the team is working well so I think fifth [in the constructors'] is still realistic."

Asked about the team's progress this season, Mallya added that he has been delighted with how things have gone.

"At the start of the season I said we wanted to be regular points finishers and here we are, three races in, with three points' finishes," he continued. "It's very pleasing when you see just how far we've come in one year: after three races in 2009 we had nul points and were tenth. The difference, I believe, has been keeping the focus on what we want to do.

"We've kept our heads down, got on with the job and to a certain extent kept out of what the other teams are doing - we've focussed on our own game. It's a real credit to Mark Smith and his team that we've got the points we have. The team at Brackley and Silverstone are tight-knit, efficient and the results are now coming through."

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