With Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta both finishing in the points last weekend, Force India is upbeat about its chances of moving forward from where it ended 2012.
While McLaren is embroiled in its current performance slump, Fernley knows that there will be a good chance for his outfit to pick up the pieces behind the leading four teams.
"McLaren will obviously come back, so we have to try and capitalise while we can," Fernley told AUTOSPORT.
"It is not going to last for a long time, but once we have done that hopefully we have a bit of a buffer.
"Once McLaren are back in their normal slot it is going to be very hard for the other midfield teams to actually get points this year. I think it will be tougher than last year."
Fernley says the fact that Sutil was able to lead in Australia showed that there is some decent speed in the car, which means Force India has the equipment needed to achieve its targets.
"There is good pace in the car, but I am not sure we are a competitor with Red Bull, Ferrari or Lotus," he said.
"But I think what has happened is they have moved away a lot and we have moved up a little bit, so there is a bit more of a gap.
"We are in no-man's land to a degree. So we are better, but we are not good enough."
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