Sergio Perez says Force India needs to get on top of its tyre degradation problems before it can make huge steps forward with the VJM09.
The Mexican driver has enjoyed a near-flawless day of running on just his second day of pre-season testing, completing 126 laps with a best time of 1m 25.593s, having spent the day concentrating on longer stints and race simulations.
Despite leaving the circuit satisfied with the healthy bank of data logged for his technicians to digest, Perez says progress made with managing tyre degradation on all compounds has been slow and is concerned with the high cliff drop off he suffered towards the end of stints.
“I didn't feel that comfortable with the car today, it was quite windy, especially in the afternoon,” Perez said. “But still a very good day with plenty of information and I'm quite optimistic. We were focusing on degradation as right now that's our weakness point. I think everyone out there is struggling with degradation points.
“We are exploring and trying to understand the tyres as best as possible because these tyres are quite difficult to understand. There is still a cliff in the tyre. But it's not like before getting into that cliff the tyre is performing well, the tyre is already at a bad stage. Once you hit that stage you basically cannot drive, you have to box.”
Perez says Force India can be optimistic about retaining its top-five team status in F1 and feels at a circuit which the Silverstone-based squad traditionally struggles at he believes any pain felt now will not be as significant at tracks which play to his strengths.
“When you look at the Barcelona test, it's been the weakest track in the history of the team,” he said. “So to be here and to be more or less competitive, more or less fighting with the people around us, means that we have done a massive step. I want to believe that in the good circuits for us we can be quite strong.”