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McLaren not downbeat about 2011 season

McLaren not downbeat about seasonMcLaren has not been subdued by its struggles to compete with Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel this season and aims to continue the fight over the next six races.

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton lie 117 and 126 points respectively off Vettel in the drivers' championship, while McLaren trails Red Bull by 126 points in the constructors'.

Both drivers have taken two wins apiece, but have suffered their share of mistakes and misfortune, handing Vettel the chance to take his second consecutive world championship crown as early as Singapore this weekend.

Managing director Jonathan Neale says that while the team is dissatisfied with that situation, it is far too early to stop development of the 2011 car and says the next six races present six more 'opportunities to win.'

"We sit here having amassed a number of race wins, having put up at times a very creditable fight and we continue to do that until the end of the season," Neale explained during a Vodafone phone-in.

"Of course we would very much like to be where Vettel finds himself at the moment, and we look to ourselves to do a better job, because we are not satisfied with coming runners-up.

"We are not in any way disheartened, downbeat or anything other than determined to win races before now and next year, however.

"We're looking at it as six more races though, and six more opportunities to win. Winning is why we are here, races as well as championships, and its too early for us to bail out completely."

With Ferrari saying its 2011 struggles meant resources were almost exclusively being switched to 2012, Neale said McLaren would also switch some resources, but would continue to work on the 2011 challenger in the belief it would also prove beneficial for next year.

"We're determined to start next year with a car that's quick and reliable from the outset," he said.

"Of course the emphasis in the team is starting to move out of necessity: with a long race season that goes until the end of November it is just not possible to put 100 per cent of your resource onto the programme for this year without doing something for next year.

"It's also possible, and I'm sure despite what Ferrari has said, that much of the development on this year's car is carry over know-how for next year. It's an evolutionary set of rules - it's still very possible to get performance on this year's car and generate know-how for next year."

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