Adrian Sutil believes that it is not inconceivable for Force India to finish fifth in this year's constructors' championship, ahead of Lotus Renault GP.
The German, speaking ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa this weekend, pointed to recent performances at the Nurburgring and the Hungororing, where both he and his teammate Paul di Resta were able to vie with Mercedes for fourth best team behind Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari. Should Force India achieve this, it would be the second highest position for the team after 1999, when the squad – then known as Jordan – came in third behind Ferrari and McLaren.
"The last two races, maybe the last three, were quite strong performance wise," said Sutil. "And I think we are going to go well now in the second half of the season. That is the plan.
"I think we are strong everywhere, consistent. We have seen that on many different circuits at the moment, from the Nurburgring to Hungary, it was the same thing to be honest, the same position, and with very different characteristics of the circuit. Maybe this one suits me as a driver even better, but also maybe the car is a bit better too. We will see tomorrow but I don't think it will be like two years ago.
"I think Renault we can still beat," he added. "They are not too far ahead and they are struggling at the moment, let's see how their development curve is going to be. We were aiming P5 at the beginning of the season and it looked a little bit difficult after a few races, but now it can change quite quickly."
Sutil thinks that Force India will be able to compete with Mercedes again at Spa – a circuit that has been traditionally strong for his team – in spite of the fact that it is not bringing a new update package to the car until Singapore next month.
"I think at the moment in the race we are already in front of Mercedes, in qualifying we are a little bit behind them so let's see if we can carry it on like this, but the last two races actually one of us was always in front of both Mercedes so that is a good sign," he said. "We have one more development coming for Singapore, and that will be it.
"There will be nothing special on the car, new parts, so it will be a similar car from the last race but, hopefully, we will be in this area for the rest of the season, I don't expect us to be with the Ferraris or McLarens consistently, that is a little bit too far ahead, but we have to take our chances and finish hopefully sixth, seventh, eighth, in this area as much as possible. Maybe sometimes a little better, it depends on the race, but the chances are there."