Manor Racing boss Dave Ryan says becoming a permanent staple of Formula 1's midfield is a “realistic” goal for his team to chase in two-three years' time.
Ryan had offered a more conservative estimate of when Manor would climb up the order back in June after the Monaco Grand Prix, but, since then, the British team scored a crucial point at Spielberg, going clear of Sauber for 10th in the teams' standings.
Despite that, Ryan admitted he remains “disappointed” by the fact the team is not yet a frequent challenger for Q2 on Saturdays.
“I am disappointed, you know,“ Ryan said. “I would like to be in the position, if I am being absolutely honest, I would like to be in the position at where we are on the cusp of getting out of Q1 every time. That's where we should be.
“But let’s not forget, we made a huge step from last year with very little resources, this car was designed towards the end of last year, and it’s a pretty impressive achievement, in terms of laptime gains from last year to this year. So that in itself is fantastic, but we need to be better.
“We aspire to be a really solid midfield team and that’s realistic, but it’s going to take two or three years to get there, maybe longer. We can’t just do it overnight, it’s a tall order.
“We have competition out there that is massively strong, they've have been around quite a while, they've all got lot of people, a lot of skill at the fingertips, and we just got to do better job than them.”
Sauber and Renault targets
“The team is improving all the time,” Ryan continued. “Every race we go to, the guys work better with the group, we understand each other a bit better - and we are new bunch of guys, even from last race to last year, there’s been a big change around.
“As a group, we are working a lot better. We need to keep improving, there’s no doubt about that.”
Expecting his team to show well at the tracks coming up after the summer break, Ryan reckons Manor can aim to not only see off Sauber, but also get ahead of Renault.
“With regards to the circuits coming up, Spa is a difficult circuit anyway, we have to have a pretty well-balanced car to go quick at Spa, but, you know, we'll be ok.
“Monza, we should be reasonably good as well.
“What we have to do in our position is, we have got to be ahead of Sauber where we can, and if anything happens ahead of us, we've got to be in a position to capitalise on that. We've got to ahead of Sauber, we've got try and be ahead of Renault and just keep trying to improve the car.
“We do have some upgrades coming through still, which will be great, and as long as they translate to performance on the track, I am sure we will be okay.”
Additional reporting by Jamie Klein