Sergio Perez is urging Force India to allow himself and Esteban Ocon the freedom to race each other in 2018 with the team facing increased competition from the likes of Renault and McLaren.
Fierce on-track rivalry between Perez and Ocon led to several costly run-ins between the two pink panthers, enticing Force India to impose team orders in the latter part of the season.
But Perez hopes they'll be given a free rein at the outset in 2018.
"We have got to understand how difficult it is going to be next year," Perez told Motorsport.com.
"We'll have the Renaults and McLarens pushing us hard. So we need to push freely if we are to be in the fight.
"We also need to have a car that is competitive from the beginning, to be in the fight from the start and be in the fight for the season."
The contentious relationship on the race track between the Mexican and the Frenchman, which culminated at Spa after a nasty incident between the two drivers, led to a frosty relationship away from it.
But common sense, coupled with Force India's stringent orders, encouraged Perez and Ocon to ease the tensions.
"We hit a very low point on our relationship in Belgium," he said.
"But things have got a lot better since then. We're working professionally. We know we work for a team and we have to do the best for them, especially for next year.
"It's going to be a massive challenge, given the competition and threat from bigger teams which have struggled."
Despite the inner-team rivalry, Perez praised his team mate performance in his first full season as a Grand Prix driver.
"Esteban came to F1 really well prepared with his experience in the previous categories and relationships with F1 teams, so that was good for us," said Perez.
"Every driver's personality is different. Certainly Esteban is someone who can be quick. He understands what he needs and that is important. He's been on it this year."