Force India is under no illusions about the task it faces to keep rival McLaren behind in the championship standings this year, but believes it is a realistic goal to be a top-six team.
The squad finished seventh last season and started the 2013 campaign with the goal of regaining the sixth spot it secured a year earlier. After the first four races of the season, Force India is in fifth, three points ahead of McLaren, which has endured a poor start to 2013.
Force India's deputy team principal Bob Fernley admitted, however, that sixth remains the main goal, as he reckons it will be very hard to keep McLaren behind.
"Our goal was obviously to regain sixth as a minimum. We are fifth, just, and there are three points between us and McLaren," Fernley said. "Can we hold them off for the whole season? It will be tough, but we will give it a go. We have to be pragmatic about it, they are a good team."
Force India has scored points with both its cars only in the season-opening race in Australia, and Fernley is aware of the importance of having both Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta in the points more often.
"That's what we have got to do. We have got to be focused and make sure that when the opportunity comes we take it and get both cars in the points," he said.
He is convinced, however, that it is a matter of time before Force India finishes on the podium after di Resta was fourth in Bahrain last weekend.
"It is going to be when, you can't get any closer than we got in Bahrain," he added. "It's frustrating not to get it. We are competing against very strong teams and delivering.
"I always thought this year would be harder than last year simply because most people are on top of the tires and the cream always rises. We are fighting hard with the cream and should be grateful we are there. In Bahrain, we could easily have had two cars in the top six on merit."