Sergio Perez: Force India Formula 1 team 'a couple of steps behind'

Sergio Perez believes Force India is "a couple of steps" behind its Formula 1 rivals after the team completed just two-and-a-half days of pre-season testing

Sergio Perez: Force India Formula 1 team 'a couple of steps behind'

A combination of factors, including cashflow problems and delays with suppliers, meant that the VJM08 was held up in production, forcing the team to miss the first test.

Mercedes paying the team to run its reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein for two days made it financiably viable for Force India to attend the second test - but only with the 2014 car.

The 2015 challenger then arrived on the morning of day two of the third and final test, with the team doing an impressive job to get Nico Hulkenberg out before the lunchbreak.

"We only had two days, that is the reality and we cannot hide it," said Perez.

"We are on the back foot due to limited running. But it is a promising start and we have to take the best out of the situation.

"It will take a couple of races to get where we want to be and there is a lot of work ahead of us.

"I think we are a couple of steps behind the competition."

The car ran reliably at Barcelona, with Hulkenberg and Perez completing 365 laps between them, just 15 laps shy of McLaren's total tally across 12 days.

Perez believes there are good reasons to be optimistic despite the delays so far.

"We have a clear direction on what we need to work on," added Perez. "Aero departments are really working well together on the weaknesses of this car, and that is positive.

"I have been in this situation before with McLaren where it took us up to the fifth race to realise where we were and to know the numbers.

"Now to do that on the second day of testing is an impressive effort from the team and now we have to work hard to get to the level that we want to be."

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