Force India Chief Operating Officer Otmar Szafnauer says his squad will run a new front wing for the Bahrain Grand Prix having debuted a raft of updates at the 2018 Formula 1 opener.

The Silverstone-based squad revealed a hugely altered car from pre-season testing in Spain for the F1 season opener in Australia but narrowly missed out on points with Sergio Perez in 11th stuck behind Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr.

Having found renewed confidence in the VJM11 package, despite a tough pre-season testing after the likes of Renault, McLaren and Haas find a step up in performance, Szafnauer has confirmed the team will introduce a new front wing for Bahrain after its series of updates debuted in Australia.

“It’s business as usual in terms of developing the car,” Szafnauer said. “We’ve got a new front wing coming for Bahrain, which will complement the upgrades we introduced in Melbourne.

“The car we have now is totally different from the spec we used during testing and we’re still on a learning curve.

“There is huge development potential with this new aerodynamic platform and we have things in the pipeline, which will bring performance steps in the first quarter of the season.”

Szafnauer has underlined Force India’s target of defending fourth place in the F1 world constructors’ championship for a third consecutive year but accepts a tough fight against its midfield rivals.

“Testing showed us that the midfield has closed up considerably, so there were no big shocks in Melbourne,” he said. “I think the points will be spread among the teams more evenly this year and retaining fourth place is going to be a big task. But we’ve only had one race and things can change very quickly in F1.

“The development race is only just beginning and it’s where you end the season that counts. Last year we out-developed the teams around us and we have to do the same this year. Our goal is to defend our fourth place and we will be fighting hard to get back up there.”

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