McLaren thinks it will have a car capable of going for victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix thanks to the major step forward it made in Germany last weekend.
An upgraded floor and front wing helped lift the performance of the MP4-24 by around 0.7 second per lap at the Nurburgring, and hopes have been lifted about its pace for the rest of the season. With the Hungaroring characteristics expected to play to the strengths of the car, hopes are high that the team can set its sight on ending the dominance by Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said that McLaren approached every race hoping to win - but believed Hungary offered it a genuine chance.
"There was some progress in Germany and we have to make sure that we keep pushing and have better results in the next race," he told AUTOSPORT. "We always go for the victory, but we don't always have the equipment to go for it. Hopefully in Hungary we will have the equipment to really go for it."
Although McLaren has already begun shifting resources onto its 2010 car, which will look dramatically different from this year's machine, Whitmarsh made it clear that the team would not ease off current development.
"We aren't going to win this year's World Championship and we have to do a better job next year," he said. "We have got a lot more effort on next year's program that we did this time last year, but we have to make sure we don't get distracted
"Have we transformed the car into a race winner? Not quite. Have we made some progress? Yes. Does it demonstrate some of the philosophy that is going into next year's car is the right direction? I think it does. So that is encouraging. We have to make sure we focus on that.
"We will continue to develop this car. We have completely changed the aerodynamic philosophy, the aero flow around the car, and although I am not an aerodynamicist I can see in the data that the guys now are finding performance.
"So we have a fresh start, we have a better baseline and the ability now to develop the car – so I think the car will develop quite a lot in the rest of this year.
"We have to make sure that we invest that development in areas that improve our learning and hopefully lead into the development of next year's car, rather than some of the fiddly bits on this year's car which won't help us next year."
Speaking about the progress with the 2010 machine, Whitmarsh said: "Next year's car is already quite a bit different, because of the absence of refueling, but it was also clear to us that next year's car had to be quite a bit different to this year's car.
"You become less risk averse if you are slow – so we are very aggressively attacking next year. If we had at the beginning of this year a highly competitive car you inevitably become cautious in the development of that for next year, but we already decided that whatever happens, next year's car is going to look quite a bit different from this one."