Sergio Perez says he is unsure whether Force India will be leading the Formula 1 midfield pack at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, adding the team is in need of a “good step.”

Force India heads into 2018 aiming to consolidate the fourth place championship position it has made its own for the past two seasons in the constructors’ standings. The midfield fight was particularly tight last year but the order looks to have closed up further following pre-season testing at Barcelona, with Renault, Haas and Toro Rosso all showing promising signs. 

The Silverstone-based squad is set to introduce a big update package in time for the first race of the season in Melbourne, and Perez hopes that will prove enough to see Force India maintain the position it held in 2017. 

“We definitely need a good step for the first race and hopefully that will come and we can be competitive from then onwards,” Perez said.

"What we are experiencing these days is probably irrelevant because once we go to race weekends track temperatures are going to be quite different to what we've had so far.

"Right now it's hard to judge where we are, but certainly I don't think we are leading the mid-pack at the moment, but I certainly always say it doesn't matter where we start, it's where you are in Abu Dhabi.

"We will see in Melbourne where we are, once we bring our package, but I'm very hopeful of what we are going to have for Melbourne.”

Force India completed the third lowest mileage of any team during winter testing with a combined total of 711 laps, but Perez does not feel it is a cause for concern. 

"It's too early to be disappointed or happy. We have to keep our heads down and working. It is going to be tough, definitely, we are going to have more teams in the middle and hopefully everyone can be closer to the top.”

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