Formula One: Struggling McLaren upbeat ahead of China

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh is confident his team will be far more competitive in next weekend's Chinese Grand Prix than they were in the two season-opening races in Australia and Malaysia.

Whitmarsh said the team have identified some initial solutions to their problems in the break since the Malaysian race on March 24.

He said: "Clearly, our performance in Australia and Malaysia fell below the high standards we've come to expect at McLaren.

"However, the three-week break between rounds two and three has been a useful one for us.

"We have been fully engaged in further developing our understanding of the MP4-28 and are confident of being able to implement a number of changes this weekend that will widen its operating window and, potentially, improve its performance."

Jenson Button, the 2009 drivers world champion, said that after the two poor outings he endured with McLaren, he is treating the race at Shanghai as another start of the season.

Button said: "In a funny way, the Chinese Grand Prix almost feels like something of a reboot of the start of my season.

"Taking home two points from the first two races obviously wasn't what we had in mind at the beginning of the year, but I think everybody in the team has picked themselves up and really attacked the task of addressing our car's issues.

"We know where we're losing performance, so I think we're actually all looking forward to seeing just what we can achieve in Shanghai.

"The important thing for us as a team is to go into the weekend with clear focus, hone our strengths across the sessions and increase our understanding of the car.

"I definitely think there's everything to play for with this championship, and I can't wait to get back into the cockpit to start the fight again."