Pedro de la Rosa says his HRT team should focus on itself rather than try to concentrate on closing the gap to rival Marussia.
The Spanish squad has been fighting at the back of the grid after getting its new car ready just before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Marussia has been HRT's closest rival since the start of the year, but rather than focusing on beating the British squad, de la Rosa reckons his team should try to continue to improve step by step.
The Spanish driver is now confident HRT has all the right ingredients to start making proper progress toward the front.
"The target is to improve race by race and forget a bit about Marussia," de la Rosa told reporters during the unveiling of the team's headquarters in Madrid. We have to think about ourselves and know where we are starting from, and improve from there without stopping, regardless of what the others are doing.
"The others will continue to move forward, too, but I'm confident. We have a bigger team, we are going to grow, but we have the tools to fight. It's going to take time. It's not a matter of having a base and you can tell right away on track. But in the middle-term you can say that the Caja Magica will make us faster."
He added: "We are very far and we have to focus on ourselves. We have to forget about the others because nowadays in Formula 1 you can say there is no midfield, because anybody can win.
"And that puts us further away from our closest rivals, but it also makes us realize that we need to forget about them and focus on ourselves because we have enough on our plate. Then when we are more competitive we will aim for bigger things, which is why we are always calling for patience."
De la Rosa, however, reckons HRT has been meeting the targets set for the start of the season despite its struggles.
"I think we are on target. We are meeting our goals and we now depend on ourselves to keep this direction," he said. "We have to keep going forward, keep improving. Each tenth is going to be harder to get because you have to be smarter and spend more hours in the wind tunnel, etc, to make the car faster."
The team introduced several updates at its home race in Spain last weekend and de la Rosa says it will have some new bits for the upcoming events, too.
"Our policy is not to say we'll have an update for a specific race like other teams can have," he added. "We are trying to bring small things race by race. We have some updates for Monaco and for Canada too. The idea is to invent new things for the next grand prix."
He feels the new headquarters, where the design team will start working in the upcoming weeks, will help HRT make its car faster eventually.
"It's a fundamental tool for any Formula 1 team, and we finally have it here. It was very important. We are starting and we still have a long way to go, but now we have the base for what a strong team needs.
"It will be a lot easier now we have everybody under the same roof. You have to keep in mind where we are coming from, and people have to understand we are a small team, because 75 people in Formula 1 means basically everybody is going to all the grands prix, and we are fighting against people with 600 or more people, so we have to start from there.
"We are new, but the ambition has no limits. We are going to grow and we have the base to grow properly, which is a basic thing."