Adrian Sutil believes Force India has a good chance of overtaking Renault in the standings this year following a run of strong races.
The team is still 22 points behind Renault – fifth in the championship – but has scored 36 points in the last five races compared to its rival's five. That has left Sutil upbeat about his team's chances of outscoring Renault in the end.
"Chances are good, I think," said Sutil. "We have to work on it of course, to stay concentrated and stay calm, but it is always good to be in a stronger position at the end of a season.
"And scoring points and catching up, that is probably harder to defend in the end. You get nervous and we have seen it last year it was hard to defend our position and we lost it by one point so hopefully this year we win it by one point to Renault or something. It is still possible."
He admitted Force India's form in recent races has been very encouraging for the whole team, especially with both him and teammate Paul di Resta scoring points in the previous race in Singapore.
"You can see it in the results, it was very important to finally score with two cars," he said. "It was the first race in a long time, and so we were quite happy and now of course we want to continue like that. Hopefully we will do.
"It may be a little bit different here in Suzuka, because maybe Renault is back here better than Singapore, but we always have a chance and we have to maximize it. We can do it, it was nice to show it again but it feels very good just to be there the whole time and fight against the big teams."
The German, who is yet to announce his future plans, says he feels good about how he has performed this season, where he reckons he has taken another step forward.
"I think so. Every year I have got better and better, but I think last year was already a very good season, depending on the car. Last year was a little bit more difficult in the end but from my own performance I was already happy.
"This year I didn't do many mistakes, I was consistent and scored as many points as possible so I am quite happy. There is always some space to improve yourself. I never think that I have learned enough or something. Even after 15 years you can still learn something in such a quick business. But I feel good and feel I am in the right direction."