Jenson Button has urged his McLaren team to keep up the rate of development with the MP4-29 after admitting that they 'turned a corner' in Australia.
McLaren failed to score a podium throughout 2013 but both Kevin Magnussen and Button claimed a top three result in Australia to give the team an early lead in the constructors' championship.
"Australia was a really motivational race for the entire team – even though we still have work to do, it feels like we’ve turned a corner, and that we have a race car we can definitely work with this year," he said.
"It’s important that we keep pushing hard on the development front – we brought some useful upgrades to Melbourne, and it was encouraging that they worked straight out of the box, but it’s essential that we keep pushing new items through the development pipeline, especially at these flyaway races, where it’s harder to bring new parts to the circuit."
Button conceded that McLaren does not yet have the pace to challenge their title rivals, but reckons that he will be able to 'hustle' the MP4-29 around Sepang this weekend.
"Sepang is a great driver’s circuit, and even if we don’t have the overall downforce we want, we should have the balance and driveability to make the car work," he said.
"And that’s really encouraging, because it means we go into a race weekend knowing that we can usually get the maximum from the car during the sessions and the race.
"Even if we don’t yet have the pace to take the fight to the frontrunners, we should have a car that’s decent in every sector, and which we’ll be able to hustle through the race – and that definitely counts for something."