Force India team boss Vijay Mallya says his squad's Valencia performance proves it is still capable of finishing fifth in the 2012 Formula 1 constructors' championship despite its low-key start to the year.
While Force India's regular 2011 rivals Sauber, Williams and Lotus have all had moments of headline-grabbing success this year, the Silverstone-based squad is yet to make it onto the podium. But Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta's fifth and seventh places in the European Grand Prix brought Force India to within one point of seventh-placed Williams in the teams' battle.
"We are only one point shy of Williams right now and 16 points away from Sauber, who have had podium finishes. So we are getting there," said Mallya. "We are definitely on target. I want to finish fifth in the constructors' championship this year and, fingers crossed, it looks like we're getting there."
Current fifth-placed team Mercedes is 48 points ahead of Force India at present.
Mallya is certain that Force India's Valencia form is sustainable, as he reckons the team could have produced the same performance two weeks earlier in Canada had it handled the tires better.
"Speaking frankly, we should have had the same or a similar result in Canada. But there we completely miscalculated the tire behavior," he said. "We ran the tires too hot and subsequent analysis confirmed that this was a mistake on our part. We all agreed that it was a mistake and without it we would have left Montreal with a better result, possibly even a double points finish. But that is Formula 1. There is always an element of unpredictability.
"We now have our sights set on Silverstone and we go there with a great deal of confidence, knowing that our car is competitive."
Asked what result he was aiming for in Britain, Mallya replied: "We want to be on the podium. I think we're close to it now."