Force India admit it "will be difficult" to achieve P5 this year as the team expects a challenge from McLaren as well as Toro Rosso.
Last season, on the back of the introduction of the B-spec VJM08, Force India strung together a run of nine points-scoring results including a podium in Russia.
The team was able to take advantage of the demise of at least one of F1's big names as McLaren, powered by Honda, had a wretched season.
This year, though, Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer concedes P5 will be difficult to achieve as he reckons McLaren are set to pose a fight-back while Ferrari power could help Toro Rosso.
Szafnauer told Motorsport.com: "Toro Rosso with a new power train and their two good drivers with twice the experience, they are going to be good.
"I can't see McLaren and Honda staying where they are forever, and they will one day come good. So even people that we beat, there's no guarantee that you are going to beat them.
"It will be difficult. But for sure we will look forward as to how can we beat the guys in front – so it will be a fierce fight.
"We have to plan our resources properly and just continue doing what we are doing."
Planning the use of those resources will also be made all the more difficult this year as Formula 1 is set to overhaul the regulations ahead of the 2017 season.
He added: "A big thing next year is going to be when do you switch from 2016 to 2017 because 2017 is such a big change, we are going to have to make a strategic decision on when do you swap.
"People at the back will swap early, maybe people at the front will swap early, but the guys in the middle that are fighting for position it is much harder."