Force India's deputy team principal Robert Fernley has called on the squad to 'dig deep' ahead of next week's Monaco Grand Prix.
The Silverstone-based outfit managed to grab a point in Spain last weekend, with Nico Hulkenberg coming home tenth in the Mercedes-powered VJM-05. Paul di Resta, however, finished 14th in the sister car, and with the squad now a distant eighth in the Constructors' Championship with 18 points, compared to the 43 scored by Mercedes and Williams and the 41 notched up by Sauber ahead, the pre-season target of finishing fifth, looks difficult to say the least.
Despite that though, Fernley isn't too disheartened. Indeed he thinks the team's consistency will paid dividends as the year goes on.
“We've seen a situation with Sauber in Malaysia where they came second and perhaps had the possibility of a victory. Williams were quite strong in Australia. Both have tailed off a bit and then Williams came back exceptionally strongly in Barcelona. Is it peaks and troughs, or is it consistency? At the moment I'm not discouraged because I think Sahara Force India and Lotus are probably the two most consistent teams,” Fernley told the official website for the Sahara Force India F1 Team.
“We're not at the front, but we're there and thereabouts all the time. I think we'd be more disconcerted if Williams continued to deliver.
“They have a jolly good car and we've always said the competition is incredible, and we've just got to dig deep and move forward.”
As for the updates Force India took to the Circuit de Catalunya, Fernley added that they have yet to be fully exploited.
“From our point of view our upgrade has gone in successfully [in Barcelona],” he continued. “I think we've still got a little bit more engineering to be able to optimise it.
“Two to three tenths of optimisation would have put us fifth, and don't forget it was the first time we've run it….”
So does Williams' success in Spain and Sauber's near-miss in Malaysia give them encouragement? “Absolutely,” Fernley stated. “Two to three tenths in qualifying is the difference between fifth and 13th. That's how tight it is. I think we've got to be pleased with what we achieved, it's not enough, but it's certainly closed the gap.
“As we've always said, the quality of the field is amazing around us, and it's not going to be easy for anybody.”