Force India puts Williams in its sights for 2016

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Force India will be looking to continue its progress up the F1 ladder next season as it targets beating its fellow Mercedes-powered rival Williams.

On the back of the team's general improvement this past couple of seasons, validated this year by a fifth place finish in the Constructors' championship - the best result in its history, deputy team principal Bob Fernley believes a further step up the F1 ladder should be pursued.

“It does show that there has been a genuine step-up,” Fernley told

“Our powertrain is probably the best in the business, so I don't think there are any issues there.

"And I think chassis-wise we are a genuinely top four or five car. To take the next move into the top four requires another step, but we've got the assets to do it today.

“What we have to look at is setting our sights on competing with Williams, because they are a similarly-funded team with similar assets, albeit a bit more in-depth because of the amount of investment they've put in over the years.

"Clearly we want to close down on them. I think we've been chipping away at them over the second half of the season.”

Last year, Force India transferred its wind tunnel program to Toyota's facility in Germany, a move which according to Fernley not only positively impacted the team's results, but was accomplished at exactly the right time given the prospect of major aero changes in 2017.

"For us it was very fortunate to do it last year, because this year it would have been very difficult with the new regulations coming in 2017. We just got the timing right for the first half of the season."

With its fifth place in the championship now out of reach, Force India will allow itself a little more development time at the season's final race in Abu Dhabi.

"I think it allows us more freedom for Abu Dhabi," Fernley concluded. "You can afford to do a little bit more testing work in the sessions and things like that.

"Whenever you do testing in FP1 and FP2 sessions you tend to compromise the race set-up or the qualifying set-up.”

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