McLaren sees no way that the Formula 1 World Championship fight will not go to the final race of the season, following its strong performance during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend so far.
Lewis Hamilton secured a brilliant pole position at the Marina Bay circuit, with his main title rivals Sebastian Vettel in third and Fernando Alonso fifth. That performance – which further highlighted the fact Ferrari does not have the fastest car in F1 – makes it more than likely that Hamilton and his team can close down the deficit to their main opponents in the title chase.
McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael thinks the current state of play means that fans will be treated to a campaign that goes down to the last grand prix in Brazil.
"I think it is going to go to the wire," he said when asked about his feelings on the title fight going forward. "I cannot see how it is not going to go down to the last race, which is fantastic for people watching, as there will be a lot of stories falling down from that place.
"There will be lots of ifs and buts and could-have-beens at the last races from the guys that win it, and our hope is we can do it.
"I do believe that Ferrari has a much better car than people say it has: you cannot lead the championship and win those races like that if not. The races that Fernando has won, he has been strong, so it is not a bad car.
"It may not be the quickest all the time, but then again no one has been. There have been areas where we have been strong and areas where Red Bull has been strong as everywhere else."
Ferrari's head of track operations, Diego Ioverno, conceded that his team's performance in Singapore had further highlighted its need to keep pushing hard with improving the F2012, despite Alonso's lead in the drivers' championship.
"I think that in general we know that we have some performance to recover, possibly even a bit more in high-downforce circuits like this one," he said. "Suzuka is a completely different picture, so whatever happens here will not necessarily be the picture in Suzuka.
"McLaren is very strong, Red Bull here is showing to be very strong as we were expecting. We know we have to keep on pushing because we need some wins to pursue our target."