McLaren-Honda racing director Eric Boullier has dangled a carrot for fans of the team waiting for a return to form, but only after admitting that the next couple of races are not ones to look forward to.
Although Honda is due to introduce an upgraded version of its V6 turbo engine at Spa-Francorchamps, the team has largely written off its chances in both Belgium and Italy, preferring instead to look further ahead, to the first of the late-season 'flyaways'.
"Spa is a truly spectacular circuit - arguably the best on the calendar for many - but, given the unique power and downforce package required, the track won't play to our strengths,” Boullier confirmed, “Therefore, of course, we must be measured in our optimism, and we will need to wait for Singapore and beyond before we can see the fruits of our labours reflected on track."
The Belgian round marks the first F1 action for nearly a month, as the sport shut down for its traditional summer break immediately after the Hungarian Grand Prix. While that allowed McLaren a longer-than-usual chance to bask in the glory of its Budapest achievement – where Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button secured fifth and ninth places – it is back to business this weekend, with McLaren keen to see what Honda's unaffected efforts have produced during the hiatus.
"After a well-deserved summer break for the whole team, we're all ready and raring to go at the start of the second half of the season,” Boullier continued, “We had an encouraging race in Hungary and we now feel refreshed and determined to continue improving our form as the rest of the season progresses.
"In the second half of the season, our fight towards the front will continue, and we'll work hard to build on our steady, solid progress in pursuit of performance. Our drivers have been unwavering in their support and are working hard to keep pushing us forward, extracting the maximum from the package at every opportunity and we've persevered through some tough moments. The positivity and steadfast commitment to McLaren-Honda's future success are evident in every single member of this team.”