Sergio Perez does not believe Force India are currently occupying their usual fourth place spot in Formula 1 and a big improvement is needed for the season opener at Australia.
Force India have been making very little impression so far at the Circuit de Catalunya and while Perez is not paying too much attention to lap times, he is not confident that Force India are leading the midfield at this stage.
"I think we definitely need a good step for the first race and hopefully that will come and we can be competitive from then onwards," Perez told reporters at the end of day five in Barcelona.
"I think what we are experiencing these days is probably irrelevant because once we go to race weekends track temperatures are going to be quite different to what we've had so far.
"Right now it's hard to judge where we are, but certainly I don't think we are leading the mid-pack at the moment, but I certainly always say it doesn't matter where we start, it's where you are in Abu Dhabi.
"We will see in Melbourne where we are, once we bring our package, but I'm very hopeful of what we are going to have for Melbourne. It's too early to be disappointed or happy. We have to keep our heads down and work."