McLaren eyes step forward in China

McLaren is expecting to deliver a small step forward in pace at next week's Chinese Grand Prix thanks to the introduction of a number of updates on its MP4-24

McLaren eyes step forward in China

With the team openly admitting that its 2009 challenger is behind a number of its rivals, McLaren has been pushing hard with developments in a bid to get itself into the title hunt.

And although it is unclear whether a double-decker diffuser will be part of its upgrade package, should the concept be given the green light at next week's FIA Appeal Court hearing, the team is hoping for progress on track in Shanghai.

World champion Lewis Hamilton said: "Hopefully, some of the upgrades we've added to MP4-24 for this race will have a benefit: it would be very encouraging if we could qualify a little further up the grid and be regularly challenging for points."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "We have reasons to be both disappointed and optimistic about our performance in the opening races of the 2009 season: disappointed because we do not yet possess the necessary technical package to enable us to fight with the leaders, but optimistic that our rate of progress is sufficiently rapid that we should be able to fight for points finishes on a regular basis.

"This race will see a number of new components introduced to MP4-24, and while we do not expect them to radically transform the car's potential, they should move us a little closer to the front than we saw in the opening two races."

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