Jenson Button concedes it has been a "difficult season" at McLaren as the drivers have found themselves fighting for points, not podiums.
It became apparent during pre-season and was highlighted in Australia that McLaren's MP4-28 fell short of its rivals.
There have, however, been signs of improvement in recent races with both Button and team-mate Sergio Perez securing back-to-back top-ten results in Germany and Hungary.
McLaren entered the summer break sixth in the Championship on 57 points, two behind nearest rival Force India and a massive 220 adrift of Championship leaders Red Bull Racing.
"For both Sergio and I it's been a difficult season," Button admitted.
"McLaren is known for being at the front, fighting for race wins, and definitely fighting for podiums pretty much every grand prix.
"So when you don't have that it's mentally very tough.
"Although the start of the season was difficult for us, as it was for the whole team, I really do feel we have grown together and improved over that period of time.
"I've had bad seasons before, so I know how tough it can be, but for McLaren it's something that doesn't happen very often.
"But it's really helped us because you fine tune every single detail when you are in that position, to get every hundredth of a second out of every part on the car.
"You know you have to because that could make the difference between getting into Q3, for example, so I feel it's really helped us a team for the future.
"I feel when we have a competitive car we will be ready for it."