Sergio Perez believes Racing Point can close the gap to Formula 1’s leading three teams but concedes it will not be a “night to day” transition.

The newly rebranded squad was rescued from administration from a consortium headed by Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll last summer after off-track financial issues left the team facing an uncertain future early on in the season.

Racing Point started from zero points at the Belgian Grand Prix following its takeover but recovered strongly to end 2018 seventh in the constructors’ championship.

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“It takes time, we are very far from the top three teams in terms of pace, but that’s the target, to try to move as close as possible [to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull],” said Perez.

"It’s not going to happen from night to day, but that is the target that’s in the back of our minds and we want to bring it a lot closer, and try to be fighting as soon as possible in the top three teams.”

Perez, who will be joined at Racing Point by Lance Stroll for the upcoming 2019 campaign, feels the Silverstone-based squad’s fresh investment will help the team become more competitive in the near-future.

As part of its vision to expand its F1 operations, Racing Point’s new owners are already planning to build a new factory for the team. 

“I’m extremely excited,” the Mexican explained. “I’ve been chatting with the whole team, from mechanics to engineers to catering, everyone is really excited, really looking forward.

“Lawrence is very enthusiastic about this project, he knows that it’s a long-term project, and I think we have great direction with our team bosses. Everything should be in place just to expand.

“But also we have to be aware that it takes time. You’ve seen it with other teams, you know how long it takes them. But I think if there’s a team that can go to the next step, it is us.

“It’s been a good year when you consider everything that has happened,” he added.

“It has been a very intense season mentally with everything that I had to go through with the administration process of the team, negotiations and so on.

“I ended up in a position that as a racing driver it’s never ideal to be in that situation, so considering that, the mental stress and all that I had throughout the season, I think it’s been a fantastic outcome.”