By Alan Baldwin
MANAMA (Reuters) - McLaren are hoping for a boost in Barcelona next month even if Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix is another struggle, Jenson Button said on Thursday.
"I think already in Barcelona you’ll see a good step," declared the Briton, looking forward to team mate and double world champion Fernando Alonso's home Spanish race.
"We’ve got a lot happening before Monaco with the car so hopefully there’ll be a good step not just with the power but also with the aerodynamic grip. We’ll see. I’ve got a good feeling about it," he told reporters.
Bahrain, the fourth round of the season, looks rather less promising for the former champions who have yet to score a point this year.
"I don’t think we’ll see a big step forward in terms of outright power here, it’s a very difficult race for everyone because of the long straights and the heat," said Button.
"The positive for us here is that we are pretty good at looking after rear tires and you need that around here. Whether that’s enough to move forward I’m not quite sure."
The wind, which whipped up sandstorms earlier in the week, could also be a big factor at the Sakhir circuit south of Manama.
McLaren's new partnership with Honda has had a difficult start, with the Woking team qualifying towards the back of the field rather than their usual place among the frontrunners as they work through the problems.
However, the return to Europe after the long-haul races in Asia and the Middle East should allow the team to speed up development on the car.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)