Jenson Button is convinced that McLaren and engine providers Honda can turn around their troubled fortunes within the next year.
"I see improvements and I feel over the winter there’ll be a big gain," Button told Auto Express at the Esso Synergy Fuels launch in London on Wednesday night, shortly after being publicly confirmed as staying at McLaren for another season alongside Fernando Alonso.
"There’s still a lot of work we need to do next year to be competitive, but it’s definitely going in the right direction," Button said. "The output we have now is beyond what we had last year, so Honda are doing a good job.
"I’ve had times this year in qualifying where I feel I’ve had a great lap, like Spa," he added. "Obviously the performance wasn’t there in terms of outright pace, but the feeling of the car was very good.
"We don’t have the same power output as the top guys at the moment, but it’s a very young project still. We’re a couple of years behind in terms of development.
"It’s very difficult to compare ourselves with people who have so much more experience with this power unit," he pointed out. "It’s not a straightforward V8 like we had before, it’s so complicated with the electric motors and so on.
"We want to be succeeding and we want to be at the front, but every race we come to, there’s something new.
"Honda are always improving and working flat out," he insisted. "I’ve spent a lot of time talking with the team and there’s very good direction there, so I have a good feeling for the future."