Nico Hulkenberg reckons Force India can hope to "attack" Williams and battle with Red Bull and Toro Rosso during the 2016 Formula 1 season.
The Silverstone-based team finished fifth in last year's constructors' standings, enjoying a major boost to its competitive fortunes with the introduction of a B-spec car midway through the year.
And with the new team's new VJM09 showing strongly in testing - Hulkenberg lapping within half a second of the pace during the second week at Barcelona - the German is confident Force India can take the fight to fellow Mercedes customer Williams this season.
"I have a feeling we will be similar or close to where we ended up last year, so that’s a good sign for sure," Hulkenberg said after testing.
"Later on in the year, I see good potential in this car, because I know there’s more in the pipeline and more coming in the season, so that’s quite encouraging.
"I would like to think and I would hope that we can attack Williams, and be on their level.
"I think if we can manage that then we are pretty good, and from my feeling and impression from what I have seen so far. I think it will also be a bit of battle between us, Toro Rosso and Red Bull."
Perez hails "massive step"
Talking about the season ahead, Sergio Perez stressed that there is huge potential in the VJM09 and said the team's evolutionary approach would pay dividends.
"I think the team has taken the right decision to stay with that philosophy [evolution], just trying to improve from last year," said the Mexican.
"If we can be in the top five team from Melbourne then it can be a good year for us. It looks promising, we can definitely improve this car, it has plenty of potential.
"I think when you look at Barcelona test, generally, its been the weakest track in the history of the team, so to be here and be more or less competitive, more or less fighting with the people around us, that means we have done a massive step."