Force India's team principal Vijay Mallya says despite his squad's difficult start to the season after a positive outing with its new aerodynamic package in Spain it is retaining its target of holding on to fifth in the F1 world championship.

After enjoying its best campaign in its history last year with fifth place in the F1 world constructors' championship, Force India has struggled to maintain its momentum at the start of 2016 having seen just one car finish in the points over the opening three races.

With its new aerodynamic package introduced at Circuit de Catalunya in time for the first high downforce tracks on the calendar, Sergio Perez has claimed consecutive points finishes while Nico Hulkenberg has also been challenging for points until technical issues wrecked his chances.

Team boss Mallya says with uplifting gains from the new aero parts in Spain he is optimistic of achieving stronger results to claw back the 12 points it currently trails Toro Rosso in the battle for fifth in the F1 world championship.

"We certainly took encouragement from our performance in qualifying and the race [in Spain]," Mallya said. "It's not easy to introduce a new aerodynamic package during a race weekend, but the team did an excellent job of installing and understanding the new components.

"We could see the benefits straightaway in the data and from the drivers' feedback. Barcelona has never been our strongest track, so to come away with six points means we can feel optimistic for the upcoming races.

"Anything can happen and that's what makes Monaco such an exciting weekend. Both our drivers are strong there, but the first task is to deliver a clean qualifying lap when it matters: we've seen before that qualifying can become a lottery when the track is busy. All being well we've got the potential to qualify in the top ten and score good points.

"We've not enjoyed an easy start to the season with our fair share of bad luck, but with three quarters of the season to go we have plenty of time to catch the teams ahead of us."

Force India sit seventh in the F1 world constructors' standings, 12 points behind Toro Rosso in fifth and eight off new squad Haas in sixth.



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