Pedro de la Rosa has warned that it is only going to get harder now for HRT as the outfit looks to up its level of competitiveness and improve the F112.
HRT has some way to go yet just to match fellow backmarkers Marussia, but while that may be the case, the little Madrid-based squad was boosted by its recent double finish in Malaysia, especially given it missed all three pre-season tests and failed to qualify in Australia.
Speaking ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix this coming weekend, de la Rosa, added that 'prime objective' in Shanghai will be to once again get both cars home.
“After these first two Grand's Prix we arrive in China much better prepared, with more mileage and having learned a lot, especially after the Malaysian GP,” he said. “All the data gathered in the last race is very important for us, as we mustn't forget that we didn't have a preseason.
“Now we have a better insight on the areas where we must improve, but the most important thing in this initial stage is to finish races. That is the prime objective in order to learn and improve race by race.
“The hardest part comes now but we are better prepared. China is a circuit where I have always done well and a place I know well, both in dry and wet conditions.
“It is not a particularly hard track for the car or the driver, but aerodynamics are fundamental.”
Team-mate Narain Karthikeyan meanwhile also sees areas where the squad can improve and gain time.
"We took a step forward in Malaysia and our aim is definitely to carry the momentum into China and rest of the season. Although we managed to finish the race, cooling was still an issue at Sepang and once we have it sorted out completely we'll be able to unlock some more performance from the car,” he added.