Force India founder and team principal Vijay Mallya is very "proud" of his team's achievements in Formula 1 but also suggested they may have peaked.
The Silverstone outfit celebrated 10 years on the grid in 2017 and enjoyed their most successful season, finishing fourth in the constructors' championship for a second straight season and scoring their most points with double top 10 results in 16 of the 20 races.
Force India's problem, however, is whether they will ever make the step up to become a potential giant-killing team as their former incarnation Jordan did in the late 1990's, early 2000's.
"At the moment there is a huge gulf that we need to close on the top three teams, but I’m still proud that we are ‘best of the rest’," Mallya told First Post.
"We are racing against huge car manufacturers and we need to be realistic about what we can achieve with our own resources. So I’m satisfied and proud of the job we are doing, but hungry for even better results and podiums."
Ultimately, though, with the likes of McLaren, Renault and Williams to name a few that could potentially overhaul them as soon as this year, the Indian entrepreneur acknowledged: "The goal for the future is to maintain our position and start closing the gap to the teams ahead of us."
Force India's strength has come from putting talent over money in all areas, whether it be drivers or those in the garage and the factory but Mallya admits that isn't enough and that will be the case unless the new F1 owners introduce changes.
"It’s no secret we lack the financial might of Mercedes and Ferrari as these privileged manufacturer teams also benefit from beneficial prize money arrangements, which further widen the gulf to the independent teams," he said.
"It’s something that we’ve always believed has an impact on the health and competitiveness of the sport. A more equitable sharing of the prize fund would allow other teams, including Force India, to compete on a more equal footing.
"Until this is addressed, it’s unlikely we will see independent teams fighting for race wins every week."
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