For the first time under Vijay Mallya's ownership Force India slipped backwards in the Constructors' Championship in 2012.
Yet while the Silverstone-based's outfit's seventh-place finish was technically one position worse than they managed in the previous campaign, in many ways the year was their most encouraging and consistent yet. The team scored more points than ever before (109) and their 16 races in the points was a record bettered only by Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren.
What Force India's results sheet lacked was the kind of headline-grabbing podium finish - or even race victory - achieved by rivals Sauber and Williams and returning to the rostrum for the first time since Spa 2009 has to be the main target for 2013.
Ironically, that famous runner-up finish with Giancarlo Fisichella in Belgium four years ago came at a time when Force India were nominally a backmarker. It's easy to forget now that in 2008, when Indian business mogul Mallya completed his takeover and third rebrand of the former Jordan team in as many years, the squad were propping up the back of the grid.
Mallya famously stated at that relaunch that he wanted the new-look outfit to claim a podium finish at his country's inaugural grand prix when it was held in 2011 - an ambition that at the time seemed something of a pipedream.
What no-one - probably not even Mallya himself - expected was to see the team claim pole position and very nearly a race victory at Spa less than two years later as veteran Fisichella produced one of the biggest giant-killing weekends of recent times to give Kimi Raikkonen and mighty Ferrari the fright of their lives.
The team would finish ninth - out of ten - in the Constructors' standings that season but the following years saw substantial progress, with a seventh place in 2010 and a best yet of sixth in 2011.
Having set their sights on fifth in the Constructors' Championship at the launch of the VJM05, seventh was therefore a slight disappointment for 2012. But the team ended the season back at the head of the midfield and Nico Hulkenberg, who has since departed for rivals Sauber, comfortably led the season finale in Brazil before tangling with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.
Paul di Resta stays on for 2013 to be joined by an as yet un-named team-mate and although it would appear tough for Force India to fully match what the team achieved in their original guise of Jordan in the late 1990s - when they won four grands prix and challenged for the 1999 Drivers' Championship - £50 million worth of investment is set to be pumped into the team to improve their ageing facilities with the aim of further closing the gap to the frontrunners.