Nico Hulkenberg said he had little chance to get a sense of the 2011 Force India's potential in his first test with the car today.
The former Williams racer is Force India's reserve this year, and although he tested its 2010 machine at the start of the winter, a morning in the car at Catalunya today was his first chance to drive the VJM04. But asked what shape he felt the team was in, Hulkenberg replied: "It's tough to predict. Today was a tough day again – we had some issues that stopped me from running a little more.
"It was my first day in the new car, the KERS was fitted, the movable rear wing, so a lot of new impressions and high working loads inside the car. There is still a lot of work to do, but it's quite competitive and close out there and I hope we can be in the midfield where we want to be.
"I don't rate cars right now. I don't know. It's too tough to say now. I think even if you analyze all the lap times and data, there are so many unknown values there that we have to wait and see."
Hulkenberg said that while he did not have chance for a proper tire evaluation this morning, he shared other drivers' feelings about the Pirellis' wear rate.
"To be honest, I didn't do a lot of long runs," he said. "We were intending to, but then we had some problems which stopped us from doing them. So it's tough to say, but you can feel after two or three laps that the tires drop away. We had some trouble on the rear wing which probably made it even worse for me this morning. But it's like everyone says – after a few laps the tires drop away, and after 15-20 laps they are pretty much done."