Sergio Perez says he understands no reason why Sahara Force India should not be aiming beyond last year's breakthrough season as he sets his sights on cracking the 'big three' in 2017.

Force India provided one the year's highlights by progressing to fourth in the constructors' standings thanks to the efforts of three-time podium winner Perez and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.

However, with Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari establishing a sizeable margin for Force India to consider bridging, it has raised questions as to how the privateer team can progress from here.

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Nevertheless, with team principal Vijay Mallya suggesting Force India has a chance to capitalise on the technical regulation overhaul to potentially spring a surprise, Perez echoes his sentiments with a firm belief he can get amongst the front runners with the VJM10.

"I think there are plenty of reasons to be very hopeful we can do the next step as a team. in the four years I have been in this team I have never seen it so stable, everyone knowing their job and none of the teams I have been in F1 this level of confidence, organisation, everyone doing their jobs. We have plenty of reasons to be hopeful for a great year



"Last year we were fourth so I see no reason why we can't improve that. The base is very solid. There are plenty of reasons to be hoping for that. That means a massive year for us but I think Force India will be the big surprise this year."

Having turned down a lucrative deal to join Renault for 2017, Perez - who joined Force India in 2014 -, Perez joined Mallya in dismissing Cyril Abiteboul's suggestion Force India will struggle to keep up with progress under the new regulations, pointing out that it hardly developed last year's rapid VJM09.

"People think we carried on the development last year to get 4th place but it wasn't true we stopped in May. Everyone is in place with a plan of upgrades through the year. Whether that is good enough compared with the big teams who knows, but I certainly think we will give a hard time to the top teams."

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