McLaren believe they can "fight for a win" are some stage of the 2014 season, Racing Director Eric Boullier revealed on Wednesday.
After claiming two podiums at the season-opener in Australia, McLaren pair Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen have only scored 10 points between them in the next three races.
Boullier, though, remain confident that the factory updates that are due to receive will allow them to compete at the front end of the grid once again.
"A lack of downforce is obviously hurting us when we have very hot track conditions, or very cold like we had in China and there is a technical reason for that," said Boullier.
"What is happening in the team is [making us] very confident and we will be able to keep pushing on a very aggressive and strong development [path] through the whole season.
"We will put ourselves in a position, maybe not in the first part of the season, but maybe later, to fight for a win.
"We have to believe we will win a race.
The former Lotus boss added that the return of Honda as engine supplier next year won't be use as an excuse for a poor season in 2014.
"You cannot afford to let yourself think that way in motor racing," he added.
"We have this extra challenge to work very efficiently with our partner Mercedes, but later in the year to start to implement the Honda arrival."