Sergio Perez says Racing Point has some “fundamental” improvements to make with its 2020 Formula 1 car if it is to make a step forward in the midfield fight.

Racing Point sealed a seventh-place finish for the second year running in 2019 as it finished the season 12 points behind Toro Rosso, with fellow midfield rivals Renault and McLaren also ahead in the pecking order.

The Silverstone-based outfit conceded Lawrence Stroll’s late takeover amid financial strain in 2018 meant that his investment was not fully felt last year, resulting in a hampered development programme.

Perez said Racing Point “paid the price” for making a slow start to the season but still managed to do a “tremendous” job throughout 2019 given the circumstances.

Asked what he feels is the main thing Racing Point must address for 2020, Perez replied: “Just to fundamentally improve the pace to be at least on par with the top four teams in that midfield group.

“If we are in a position to compete from the first race then it can look very different.

“It’s some fundamental thing with the car, it’s been very difficult on new tyres [in qualifying]. It’s been so bad you cannot improve.

“And it has been so much circuit-related, some we were strong and others we were really bad. That midfield group was so tight that two tenths in one sector would put you off.

“We can improve a lot,” he added. “There are great teams out there and everyone is going to improve, so for us to catch up and improve it will  be difficult.

“I think podiums and P4 in the championship should be the target for us next year.”

Perez scored 52 points on his way to taking a top-10 finish in the drivers’ standings, while teammate Lance Stroll ended the year 15th, having contributed 21 points to Racing Point’s overall haul.