The Silverstone squad missed the first pre-season test in Jerez, ran its 2014 car in the second before the new car made its debut in the final test and ran reliably for 365 laps at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

"It is never perfect but I think when you come out of the launch of the car and run consistently for three days without any issues, it is a good sign and hopefully it bodes well for the season," Fernley told PTI ahead of Sunday's season opener at Albert Park.

Notwithstanding the reliable run in Barcelona, Force India admitted that they have some catching up to do with their mid-field rivals.

Though pre-season timings are not clear indications of the car's race pace, Sergio Perez was two seconds off the pace in the VJM08 on final day of the pre-season test.

"I think we are not that far behind. We will be competing against our midfield rivals and battling for points as always.

We only race for points. We never race for making up the numbers," asserted Fernley when asked about his team's chances in the season opener.

The delay in introducing the new car generated negative publicity for the team, raising questions over its future at a time when co-owner Mallya is battling with financial problems back home and other majority shareholder Subrata Roy being in jail since March 2014. Speculation was rife whether the team will even make it to Melbourne.

Fernley was quick to dismiss growing speculations and promised another strong season.

"I think our season is secure and we will have a very strong season. As we move on through the season, as we start to get the benefits of the Toyota wind tunnel, we will have some strong results.

"The benefits won't come through immediately. I would imagine it will start to flow through into the Europe (leg).

There were bold moves we made in terms of changing the wind tunnel to Cologne in Germany, it was a strong signal of how committed the shareholders are to improve. It is only a matter of time before we start to reap the benefits," he explained.

Fernley further said that using the Toyota wind tunnel facility will help them significantly in improving the rear grip of the car, an issue that consistently troubled the team last season. However, it still managed to finish a creditable sixth with record 155 points.

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