LONDON, July 13, 2012 (AFP) - Jenson Button has warned that McLaren must deliver strong results at the German and Hungarian Grands Prix if they want to stay in contention for this year's world championships.
Despite winning the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March, the 2009 champion has struggled for pace for most of the season and after finishing 10th at Silverstone last weekend, now lies eighth in the drivers' standings 79 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.
With teams due to go on a summer break after the Hungarian race, the Englishman has insisted that it will be even more important for McLaren to deliver strong results so it does not lose further ground to rival teams Red Bull and Ferrari.
"The final back-to-back before we head into the summer break will be important for the whole team," he said.
"Coming off the back of a couple of disappointing weekends, it's important that we capitalise on the opportunities available in Germany and Hungary."
However, Button, 32, remained optimistic about the true performance of his car and believes the team's dismal results have been more to do with how the car has been set up.
"Performance-wise, I still think it's difficult to accurately predict where we stand in the competitive order - Valencia and Silverstone were certainly difficult races for us, but I don't think they were truly representative of our pace," he said.
"This year, you really need a problem-free build-up to the race if you're going to maximise the car's potential -- and that's exactly what we'll be hoping for in Germany next weekend."
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh insisted that everyone associated with the Woking-based outfit was focused on improving the car's performance in time for next weekend's Hockenheim race.
"There is a huge resolve within the operation to ensure that our aggressive development strategy is upheld across the summer," he said.
"We are determined to narrow the gap to the championship leaders before the start of the summer break."