The Woking squad has had a somewhat positive start to the year, scoring a sixth-place finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
It hit trouble at the opening race of the year as Carlos Sainz retired with an MGU-K incident, while both Sainz and teammate Lando Norris were involved in a lap one incident with Daniil Kvyat last time out in China.
As it aims to make further gains in the midfield, de Ferran says the team is not looking at Renault, its power unit supplier, as the team to beat.
“Personally I don’t look at it that way,” he said. “Renault has done a great job for us this year as a power unit partner. They have definitely made a step forward and delivered us a more powerful power unit and I think our objective is just to keep moving up regardless of who’s ahead.
“I cast my mind back to when I was a driver. Some people like to focus on one enemy. I don’t think that way. We as a group can only control what we do and that’s what we need to stay focused on and continue to move forward. And, frankly, no rest until we are P1 and P2.”
De Ferran is adamant that the Woking squad has made strong gains over the winter, as it ended the 2018 season as near backmarkers.
“Working day in and day out it feels like it has. Obviously, we are not fighting for wins at this point but I think that we have evolved a little bit in our understanding of what we need to do and what we need from a Formula 1 car.
“This car feels like it’s a little bit of a step forward relative to last year. But we are certainly under no illusions. We still know there is a lot of work ahead of us, I’ve been saying that throughout winter testing and the first few races and that mindset hasn’t changed.”