Jenson Button hopes McLaren can end 2016 season battling Ferrari
"We could be fighting with the red cars," says Button as he looks forward to McLaren upgrades
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 12/09/16 3:34pm
Jenson Button says McLaren's upcoming upgrades should result in a strong finish to the season - and has even set his sights on challenging Ferrari.
After a catastrophic 2015 the Woking team's improvements in reliability and performance have been steady rather than drastic this year, though favourable circuits and engine upgrades are on the horizon.
And Button, who is possibly entering his final seven races in Formula 1 having dropped back to an ambassadorial role for 2017, has warned the grid - in particular the faltering Scuderia - that McLaren will be on the charge.
"You have to have aims in this sport," the Brit told Sky Sports News HQ's Craig Slater. "We've made massive gains over the last 12 months and if you look at what we have coming in the future, we should be able to fight towards the end of the year with teams that are a above us at the moment. Ferrari would be one of them.
McLaren are currently sixth in the Constructors' Championship, below Williams and Force India and some 231 points behind Ferrari, but Button's optimism comes from the gains he has seen from previous upgrades.
"If we could challenge them it would be an amazing way to end the year," he added. "In Malaysia when we get the new upgrade we'll see some performance gains. We could be fighting with the red cars."
Though back-to-back races in Belgium and Italy didn't quite suit their package, there should be potential for McLaren to become consistent point-scorers in 2016's remaining Grands Prix.
Team boss Eric Boullier hopes to unleash the MP4-31's full potential, starting at this weekend's Singapore GP.
"We go to territories where we race at circuits that require a more technical car set-up, with less reliance on pure power," he said. "Despite spending the next few weeks far away from the UK, our development push is still ongoing and we're still working hard on achieving performance improvements right up to the end of the season.
"Although we weren't in a points-paying position in Monza, we did see some promising performances throughout the weekend, so we're hopeful of a greater chance to show what our package is truly capable of at the Singapore Grand Prix."
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