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F1 NEWS 

Ron Dennis: McLaren will be half a second faster by Malaysian GP

Ron Dennis

McLaren is eyeing a half-second per lap improvement for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but knows it will not totally close the gap to Formula 1 pacesetter Mercedes.

The Woking-based outfit currently leads the constructors' championship, with the exclusion of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo giving McLaren a double podium finish in Australia last weekend with Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button.

McLaren's Group CEO Ron Dennis believes the team can fast-track its return to the front of the field.

"What we intend to be, as fast as possible, is a winning grand prix team," he said. "If you are not winning then you are not where you want to be.

"So the question is, how do we catch up and how fast can we do it? And what steps have to be taken?

"These intercontinental races limit how fast you can develop the car but nevertheless we will give it our best shot.

"We are confident that we will be half a second quicker at the next grand prix, for a variety of reasons.

"That will not be enough to achieve our goal but it will keep the pressure on those teams that are chasing us."

Why Dennis reclaimed 'unfit' McLaren

Although a half-second improvement should keep McLaren in the battle near the front, Dennis is under no illusions about the step that is needed to get on par with Mercedes.

"Their pace is only apparent in qualifying," he said.

"It is clear that they have a good 1.5 seconds on anyone else. That is challenging to close, but not impossible."

DENNIS IMPRESSED WITH DISCIPLINE

Jenson Button, McLaren, Australian GP 2014, Melbourne

The performance in Australia has lifted the mood at McLaren after its troubled 2013 campaign, and Dennis says he has been impressed by what he has seen so far.

"We had a good weekend," he said.

"The result is not so bad, but there is more behind the result: the discipline in the team, pitstops that were well performed, calling it right with Jenson; basically the weekend as a whole worked very, very well.

"There were a few problems at the beginning of one practice with software but again, no fluster, very focused, very determined and together.

"It will give them belief in the direction and the guidance that is in the company."

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