Force India team principal Vijay Mallya believes the closeness of the mid-field means its impending upgrades could see it make a big stride up the order.

Following the late appearance of its VJM08, Force India has been sceptical of its chances around its rivals, but after making the most of a high attrition rate in Australia to score there, a charging drive to eighth by Sergio Perez suggested the team turned a corner in Bahrain in terms of pure pace.

Indeed, though Force India maintains it is 'not where it wants to be' at this time, the closely-matched form of the mid-field teams all the way up to Red Bull - which is currently fourth in the constructors' standings - gives Mallya confidence that the upcoming upgrades will make a significant difference.

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"It's fair to say that we've had mixed fortunes during the opening four races. On the positive side, we've scored points in half the races and I've been impressed by the fighting spirit of the team. On the other hand, we know the VJM08 is not where we want it to be and that we need to work hard to unlock more of its potential.

"It's still early days in the season, but it's worth noting how closely-matched the midfield teams remain. There are times when we see up to ten cars within half a second of each other, which means that any improvements we can bring to the car will have a big impact on our results.

"Our pace has been improving with each race, but we will need to wait a little longer before we can make a big step. I'm optimistic about the updates we have planned and we are working hard to get them to the track as soon as possible. The priority over the next few races is to stay in touch with the teams around us. As it stands, fourth place in the championship is just 12 points ahead of us, so we need to keep fighting hard and picking up points when we can."

Having originally wanted to bring its big upgrade package for the Spanish Grand Prix, Force India is likely to wait until the Austrian Grand Prix next month to bring its revised car.