Adrian Sutil has admitted that he is expecting Force India to be off the pace in the opening rounds of the Formula 1 season.
While other midfield squads such as Sauber and Toro Rosso have appeared to make substantial steps forward with their new cars, Force India's testing times have attracted fewer headlines. Sutil conceded that while he is happy with the VJM04's reliability, there was more work required to get the car up to speed.
"We have a reliable car, which is positive, and this will help us during the first few races," he said. "But we still need to look for more speed and we require a little more time to understand the developments and aero side of the car. The first few races may be a little tough in that respect, but for sure we shall pick up our race pace soon."
The German hopes that Force India's reliability will still pay dividends in Melbourne even if the car is not as quick as it needs to be.
"It is always a good feeling to finish the first race, as you then know that the season has really started," said Sutil. "It was a crazy race in Australia last year when the rain came in; I think only 10 cars made it to finish. This is also why I think it is so important to finish the race in Melbourne – there are usually points to be won if you see the checkered flag."