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McLaren wins in 2013 'will be very challenging'

ESPN Staff
August 21, 2013 « Spa 'the hardest track' for Renault | Teams could work around new tyre manufacturer »
McLaren has had both cars in the top ten at the last two races but has yet to score a podium this season © Sutton Images

Turning the MP4-28 in to a race winner "will be a real challenge" according to McLaren's managing director Jonathan Neale.

Having had a poor start to the season, McLaren has been making gains over the past few races but is still unable to challenge for podiums. While Jenson Button said prior to the mid-season break that he believes McLaren can win a race this season, Neale told a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in that he doesn't share that view as the team focuses on next season.

"I think that will be a real challenge, if I'm honest," Neale said. "The areas that we're working on this car are areas that either directly or indirectly are relevant to our 2014 campaign. Most teams by now will be switching the greater proportion of their resource and much of the design organisation across to next year's car; we're almost through August so it's four months until the end of the year. There's a lot of work to be done to get ready for next year so I think inevitably teams will start being increasingly focused on 2014."

Neale was also keen to play down the optimism displayed by Button at the Hungarian Grand Prix but said McLaren would hope to make further progress with its upgrade package in Spa.

"I think I'd want to underplay [our chances of success] a bit more than that. Jenson was interested in some of the learning and understanding that we've developed over the last couple of months on the car. We've worked incredibly hard to take a package of upgrades to Hungary; we didn't get everything from the package that we were expecting so there's still some outstanding work to do and we will continue that work over Spa and Monza. The work that we're doing is not circuit specific, it's general car development.

"Spa is a fantastic race; the drivers are always excited to get there and we love it as a circuit as well, but it's notoriously difficult. The weather forecast that I've seen so far says that qualifying and the race could well be wet this weekend, so Spa is tricky and I don't think anybody would go to Spa feeling that they were confident. I think we'll struggle to be right at the front but nevertheless we are hoping to make some further gains."