Force India F1 boss Vijay Mallya has conceded his team will need to make a 'step forward' in the remaining races this season if they are to hold off Sauber and keep sixth place in the Constructors' Championship.

Although Force India currently has a 17-point buffer, the Silverstone-based outfit have only scored 3 points in the last seven races. Sauber in contrast are on a roll and have taken 38 points from the last four grands prix in Italy, Singapore, Korea and Japan.

"The races after the summer break haven't been very positive in terms of scoring points, but the morale in the team remains strong," Mallya insisted in the countdown to the team's home race in India this weekend.

"Korea and Japan were not the easiest of weekends, but everyone in the team is working really hard to recapture our early form. It's all a matter of finding the right balance with the car - when we do that, we will be back in the points.

"Sauber have been doing a very good job lately. They are the in-form team at the moment and they have been taking all the opportunities that were presented to them.

"It's going to be a real fight in these last four races: we need to make a step forward to hold them off, because they can qualify well and they have strong race pace as well," he added.

Asked about his emotions ahead of the event at the Buddh International Circuit, Mallya replied: "Our home race is always a very proud weekend for everyone in the team: the atmosphere at the track is incredible and we always enjoy plenty of support. The track itself is one of the best in the world.

"It's also a good one for us - in the last two years we scored points in both races, so a similar result would be a good target for the team," he concluded.