McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale has admitted the team faces a 'real challenge' to win a race this season.
The Woking-based squad have made some progress with the troublesome MP4-28 of late, but still lags behind the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes.
Furthermore while Jenson Button boldly predicted in Hungary that the team could take a victory this season, adding that this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix would probably be their best chance
, ever since then McLaren has attempted to quell expectations
and Neale continued in that vein during a Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes phone-on ahead of the start of the second 'half' of the season this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.
“I think that will be a real challenge for us, if I am honest,” Neale replied when asked if McLaren could win a race this season with the MP4-28. “The areas that we are working on with this car are areas that either directly or indirectly are relevant to 2014. Most teams by now will be switching the greater proportion of their resources across to next year's car. We are almost through August now, so it is four months until the end of the year. There is 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.”
Meanwhile, Neale warned that the event this weekend could be a tough for all in F1, primarily due to the weather: “Spa is a really fantastic race and the drivers are always excited to get there and we love it as a circuit as well, but it is notoriously difficult too,” he added.
“The weather forecast that I have seen so far for the weekend ahead says that qualifying and the race could well be wet. Spa is very tricky and I don't think anybody would go to the race there feeling that they were confident.
“I think we will struggle to be right at the front but nevertheless we are hoping to make some further gains,” he concluded.