Force India keen to build
Deputy team principal Bob Fernley is hopeful Paul di Resta's stirring result in Bahrain will provide Force India a platform to build on.
In a car the team knew would not be particularly competitive over the first four long-haul races of the campaign, Di Resta produced a superb drive to finish sixth on Sunday.
That equalled the Scot's best result of his Formula One career and has instilled confidence ahead of the start of the European run of races, which start in Barcelona on May 13.
In particular, as the Silverstone-based team are due to introduce a significant upgrade for next week's test in Mugello, they hope that will propel them further forward.
"Our plan heading into the first four races was to use good race craft and good strategy with a car that perhaps wasn't where we wanted it to be," Fernley said.
"And I think we delivered on that quite well, with only the one bad result in Shanghai.
"We're probably better off than we thought in some ways, but we still have to deliver the next bit.
"Of course, we've some wonderful teams around us who are not sitting still either, so it depends on what they deliver and whether we can close the gap.
"As to whether we've given ourselves a platform now, and with the package to come, hopefully the answer is yes."
Di Resta, who is due to drive on the second of the three days in the first in-season test since 2008, also has his fingers crossed the upgrade package will deliver.
"After what Sauber did in Malaysia (with Sergio Perez finishing second), it keeps them in our sights," said Di Resta.
"If we now put performance on this car then we can get by them.
"We always knew maintaining sixth place (in the constructors' championship) this year was going to be difficult.
"But we'll keep on track, picking up the points we're doing, and being realistic about it, if we can get results like the one in Bahrain then they are like wins to us as a midfield team.
"So we've got to be happy and hopeful the upgrade we're going to bolt on the car keeps us in this position going into Barcelona."
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