McLaren's principal race engineer Philip Prew says the team is confident its latest upgrades will mean a big improvement in high-downforce performance for Singapore.
The last race in high-downforce trim in Hungary produced poor results for McLaren, which qualified fifth and 11th, with Jenson Button finishing only ninth. However, Prew is expecting McLaren to take the fight to Ferrari and Red Bull in Singapore this weekend.
"This is a big weekend, particularly big after the difficulty we had with a lack of pace in Hungary, which is our reference for high-downforce, slow-speed," Prew said. "It should be competitive between Red Bull, Ferrari and ourselves."
Prew also speculated that the increased FIA load tests on front wings and floors could have an effect on the advantage enjoyed by Red Bull at the Hungaroring.
"The regulations now in place over bodywork testing means it should be a level playing field," he said. "The advantage that was felt to be being gained by Red Bull and Ferrari is harder to exploit, if that was indeed what they were doing. I'd like to think it will be very close, but you'd have to be a bit brave to say where we'll all end up."
Prew added that as well as the upgrades for Singapore, much of McLaren's progress has come from understanding how to make the most of its previous new parts.
"We have some quite big upgrades but also our understanding of our car and how to exploit it, how to get downforce from the car, has improved since Hungary," he said. "We're optimistic that we can close the gap and we hope to be competitive.
"Coming out of Hungary, we recognized our pace was not where it needed to be. Since then, we have had a whole number of upgrades on the car, some have run already at Spa and Monza and they will carry over. In addition, we have further upgrades here in Singapore; a new front wing and other devices that will look to improve downforce.
"We know some of the upgrades are working because we've seen them in previous races, albeit with different downforce levels. We're hopeful that what we've added to the car over the last six weeks will be sufficient to close that gap up."