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F1 NEWS 

McLaren F1 team eyes Red Bull challenge from Singapore GP

McLaren thinks a major update programme that kicks off at the Singapore Grand Prix could lift it on terms with Red Bull by the end of the 2014 Formula 1 season.

The Woking-based outfit has scheduled a big development step for its car for the start of the flyaway races, and racing director Eric Boullier is optimistic that further improvements pencilled in for the final races will help McLaren finish the season strongly.

And having edged ahead of Force India for fifth in the constructors' championship at the Belgian Grand Prix, he says sights are now set on fighting wheel-to-wheel with Ferrari, Williams and perhaps even Red Bull.

Speaking during a McLaren phone-in on Tuesday, Boullier said: "It is true that getting in front of Force India was a short-term target, but it is not the final ambition.

"I do feel comfortable and confident about a stronger end of season than beginning.

"Our car is working decently on low downforce tracks like Spa and [hopefully] Monza, but from Singapore we will have another big upgrade on the car which I hope will deliver all that is promised.

"We should have another couple of updates before the end of the season which should clear us definitely from Force India, but also fighting in the middle of Ferrari and Williams, and Red Bull maybe.

"I have no idea if we get another podium before the end of the season but if we do our job properly then maybe."

Although McLaren hopes to be fighting with the trio of teams ahead in the standings, points lost earlier in the campaign make it unlikely it will make much more progress in the constructors' championship.

It is currently fifth overall but 45 points behind Williams and a further 10 adrift of Ferrari while Red Bull is 149 points clear of McLaren in second place.

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