Team boss Eric Boullier thinks it is quite possible that McLaren-Honda might be in a position to win grands prix later in the 2015 season.
His comments follow reports elsewhere the team boss warned it might be “years” before the new British-Japanese collaboration is fully up to speed.
Indeed, in an interview with El Pais, Boullier admitted Honda is in fact already years behind its rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.
“When Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes decided to introduce this engine,” he said, “they began to develop their proposals three years before testing them.
“Honda decided to come back in May 2013, so that’s only a year and half. Meanwhile, McLaren has undergone a revolution where we had to build everything together and while that is positive, we need some time.
“It has been too ambitious to try to be ready so quickly,” Boullier added.
Indeed, Australia showed the reality of Honda’s situation in all its starkness, as the silver and black cars lined up dead last on the grid.
Rumours suggest the gap to Mercedes is as much as 200 horse power or more, and that simply to get through the weekend, Honda had to ‘turn off’ its energy-recovery systems altogether.
But when asked if the MP4-30 can be a winner in 2015, Boullier answered: “Yes, it is still possible, although not in three, four or five races. But I do believe that we will be competitive.”