Force India will not announce its second driver before the second Barcelona test in mid-February.
Deputy team principal Bob Fernley said his squad had no concerns about going through the first winter test without having confirmed Paul di Resta's teammate as he is sure the second driver could catch up at Barcelona, where testing would ramp up.
Fernley had said last month that the second driver announcement would be "probably before the first test."
"The driver will be capable of doing an equal amount of time as Paul," Fernley said during the launch of the new VJM06 at Silverstone, where di Resta shook the car down (ABOVE). "It's only once the baseline has been set, which Paul will be doing in Jerez, do you really start to lean on the car and wind it up to get performance."
Fernley confirmed that Force India's 2012 reserve driver Jules Bianchi remained on the shortlist for the second race seat despite the Ferrari protege being at the Italian squad's launch instead.
"Jules is a significant candidate for what we're doing, along with Adrian [Sutil] and a few others," said Fernley.
He also denied that the delay in announcing the second driver meant the choice would be based entirely on commercial considerations.
"I have difficulty with the terminology of 'pay drivers,'" Fernley said. "The drivers that are in Formula 1 are very good quality. The fact that they've got the skills to put a budget together as well would be complementary, not a negative. What I would like to think is that talent is also given the opportunity when maybe it doesn't have the budget to go with it. What we do is see how things fit into our programs and get the best drivers we can afford, and I don't think that's changed."