MONTREAL, June 7, 2012 (AFP) - McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale expressed his confidence on Thursday of a turnaround in form for the British Formula One team at this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.
McLaren have struggled recently - 2009 champion Jenson Button failed to make the final part of qualifying at the last two races in Barcelona and Monaco, and he and team-mate Lewis Hamilton have not managed a top four finish since the Chinese Grand Prix in March.
In spite of this, Neale is expecting a strong qualifying performance from Briton Button, winner of the Australian Grand Prix, at the Montreal track.
"We've seen Jenson can be very quick on Fridays, so he is doing a great job for us," said Neale.
"Together with the engineers we need to find that consistency and translate that from Friday into Saturday result. We're not that far away and I'm
confident that he can.
"I wouldn't read too much into Monaco as a race, it's rather a unique weekend. I'm sure Jenson will be on strong form this weekend."
Neale also suggested that errors were more costly than usual because of the extremely tight start to the 2012 season.
"We have seen Jenson be unlucky and not quite get the car in the right place in the last two races," he said.
"It is very tight - you only need to miss a tenth or two and you can move a lot of places in qualifying. Six races in and six winners and five constructors having won shows how close and challenging it is at the top."
Neale added: "The car definitely has the pace and the upgrades are coming thick and fast. Pole position in Spain by half a second demonstrates just how
much performance there is in the car.
"Both drivers have a car underneath him that can win this race, if we can get the tyres consistently into the sweet spot - we go there this weekend
determined to put both our drivers in a position to win."
Neale also played down talk that Britain's 2008 champion Hamilton, out of contract at the end of the season, could be leaving to join either Ferrari,
Red Bull or Mercedes.
"Quite clearly we would like him to continue racing for us, he'd like to continue racing for us," Neale said.
"We have plenty of time, we don't need to make that decision until much later this year. I wouldn't put the last two races into a professional's mind
like Lewis's in terms of where he will be comfortable in the future."