McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale believes the team can expect a 'very challenging' race in Hungary, although he is confident Lewis Hamilton
and Jenson Button
will have a 'good chance' to be competitive.
Neale also added that he thinks the development race between them, Red Bull
will remain hotly contested throughout August and September, as the F1 2012 World Championship heads into its closing stages.
“We believe we've got a competitive car,” Neale confirmed during a Vodafone McLaren
Mercedes phone-in. “We've been focusing a lot on our race pace because our qualifying pace has been stronger than our race pace. We believe both drivers have a good chance of being very competitive and hopefully we can win this weekend.
“But it's a very close grid, as you all know, and [that is] notwithstanding whether the teams are able to exploit the conditions and the tyres. With relative upgrades you don't need to bring very much in order to change the competitive order.
“Nobody at this stage, at any of the teams, is backing out and diverting resources to next year or the year after.
"I think we're in for a very challenging race in Hungary and I suspect the rate of development will be strong throughout August until the middle of September as well.
“There's still a lot to go. I don't think it's static. I think the three top teams have got very competitive cars.”
As for the significant upgrade package McLaren
debuted in Germany, Neale added they were extremely happy with it.
“We are very pleased - we'd like another one!” he joked. “Everything that we put on the car on the Friday stayed on the car and I think that in the dry weather we were pleased. The race pace certainly enabled Jenson to stay in touch with the Red Bull
and Ferraris and so on that day, on that circuit, in those conditions we were there or thereabouts.
"We need to keep pushing though, and continue to work very hard. But we're pleased with it.”
Asked about the championships, Neale maintained all is not lost: “We are under no illusions about how hard we have to work. But we also have to remember that there are a lot of points still to come in this championship,” he continued.
“Apart from our qualifying in the wet in Q3 [in Germany], which was disappointing, in the race both drivers were able to contest. I was delighted for Jenson that he managed second place and for the whole team as the car made a step forward. It's still a long season.”