Force India deputy team principal Robert Fernley does not expect his outfit to make significant strides before the halfway mark of the 2015 season.
The Silverstone-based squad enjoyed a solid opening round a fortnight ago as both Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez scored points in Melbourne. This was made all the more remarkable by the fact that the new VJM08 had only been introduced at the final pre-season test a couple of weeks prior to the event.
However, neither Force India driver could break into the top-10 during Friday free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix, with Hulkenberg finishing 15th in both sessions and team-mate Perez claiming P16 and P13 at Sepang.
With the team coming off a tough winter amid speculations around its financial woes, Fernley says this period of hardship was only a natural step towards securing Force India’s long-term future.
"I think what we’ve got to look at is where Force India was at the end of last year," said the deputy team principal. "We had a choice to make between staying with our own wind tunnel in Brackley, which is a relatively old tunnel with a 50 per cent model, or restructuring the whole aero department and moving forward.
"Fortunately for us we’ve got (team principal) Vijay (Mallya) there to support the team and he made the decision that we would move forward and we've restructured the aero. We’re now working exclusively in Cologne with the Toyota wind tunnel, we’ve upgraded the CFD.
"Unfortunately in that process there’s a slight step backwards and I don’t think we will see really Force India coming to the front again until probably mid-season.”
Click here for Friday's gallery from the Malaysian Grand Prix