Jenson Button believes McLaren's Hockenheim upgrade could be the step that brings it back into contention
|By Edd Straw and Sam Tremayne||Thursday, July 19th 2012, 16:44 GMT|
Jenson Button is hopeful that McLaren's major upgrade package for the German Grand Prix will put the team back in contention near the front of the field.
The Briton, without a top-five finish since China, believes that McLaren's recent struggles are down to the team not matching the development pace of its rivals.
He expects comprehensive updates to move the team closer to Red Bull and Ferrari, insisting that extra downforce will help solve its tyre management problems.
"The more downforce you have, the fewer issues [you have] everywhere else," he said. "You can get tyre temperature, so you can take away the parts of the car we have had to put on to help, which will give us more downforce again.
"Downforce just helps everything: it covers up issues you can't solve any other way. I don't think we have had a big enough update before to be in the mix. Here we have that update and I hope that it takes us back to the front.
"Our long-run pace is definitely a weakness: if you look at our degradation compared to some of the quicker teams, which also includes Sauber, we are weaker in that area. Some of it is because they have got more downforce than us."
Button is confident that technical meetings at McLaren's Woking base on Tuesday have helped to give the team a clear idea of the direction it needs to take.
He expects that the new parts will work when they run on track for the first time during Friday morning practice at Hockenheim.
"Obviously there were quite a few negative comments because we're not doing as well as we would have liked," he said.
"There is a lot of positive energy and excitement about future races because here we come with mechanical and aero upgrades. Hopefully they will work well; I believe they will because they're very straightforward.
"Whether it's enough or not I don't know, but it's a pretty good chunk and should hopefully take us closer to the front."
Team-mate Lewis Hamilton is also positive about the upgrades and admitted that he is excited to get behind the wheel on Friday.
"We'll find out tomorrow how competitive we are," said Hamilton. "But I'm really excited - I know what we have and how much we have, and I'm excited to feel it and experience it. I really hope it gives us a chance to at least fight for the win.
"The team have been under a great amount of pressure to bring upgrades and we have been under pressure to get the results. But the guys have not given up and they keep pushing.
"We've hopefully got some upgrades this weekend that will put us back in the fight. It definitely will make the car better than it was."