Force India's Bob Fernley says it's likely the pink squad won't retain its honorary title of 'best of the rest' this season as Renault now has a firm grip on F1's mid-field.
The French manufacturer enjoyed a double-points finish at Paul Ricard last weekend while Force India endured a painful double DNF, with Esteban Ocon a victim of the first lap chaos and Sergio Perez parking his car following a water pump leak.
"Realistically the battle now is for fifth place," Force India's deputy team principal told Motorsport.com.
"I think it will be very difficult for any of the midfield teams to overtake Renault at this point. Nothing’s impossible, but they are very strong.
"Fundamentally they are doing what we were doing last year, when everyone else was taking points off each other.
"We had a good first half of the season with a car that probably didn’t deserve to be in the points, but was in the points on a regular basis."
Indeed, the Silverstone-based outfit's has shown remarkable consistency in the last two seasons, its last double retirement dating back to the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix!
The team now turns its attention to Austria, where Force India will achieve a special milestone.
"It’s our 200th race weekend and it would be nice to celebrate the milestone with a special result," said team owner Vijay Mallya, who hasn't given up on winning the mid-field battle.
"It’s been a long journey since 2008 and I’m very proud of the results we have achieved, especially in 2016 and 2017.
"It’s an incredibly busy time of the season with four races in five weeks and the fight in the middle of the grid remains very close.
"We will keep working hard to be at the front of the midfield as the season progresses."