Manor driver Pascal Wehrlein says the outfit's performance during the Chinese Grand Prix reflects its position in the 2016 pecking order, after the rookie came home in 18th position.
Wehrlein crashed out of qualifying and started from 21st position but stayed out behind the Safety Car to run as high as fourth, before slipping back through the order.
Manor fitted Super Soft tyres to Wehrlein's car for the final stint of the race in a bid to chase Renault's Kevin Magnussen, but his charge fell short and he placed 18th.
Wehrlein was nevertheless able to finish ahead of Haas' Romain Grosjean, Sauber's Felipe Nasr, team-mate Rio Haryanto and Renault rookie Jolyon Palmer.
"It was a good race, with some positives to take away," said Wehrlein.
"Once again we were fighting with some other cars and managed to overtake a few as well.
"The start went well and then the first few corners were a bit hairy with cars and debris all over the place. We did well to avoid the chaos and made up 17 places from the start to be 4th for a few laps.
"That was a nice feeling, although I knew it would be short-lived. The car was working fine but I think 18th place is where the car is right now at this event.
"At the end we saw the chance to gain on Magnussen, which is why we went for the Super Softs. It was a good feeling to be hunting him down but we only had a limited window on those tyres and it wasn’t quite enough in the end.
"Everyone finished, so with no DNFs we got ahead of four other cars on merit, but we have to make a good step forward now to make a big difference in the races ahead."