Eric Boullier believes that McLaren are capable of catching Mercedes this season, even though Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have dominated all three races this season.
Even though a safety car pushed the field together, Hamilton and Rosberg steamed away from the chasing pack last week in Bahrain to record their second consecutive one-two of the season, while Sergio Perez finished third, more than 20 seconds behind the German.
"It is true that the gap is huge now," Boullier told crash.net during a McLaren phone-in this week.
"But a one-second gap is catchable.
"I know a lot of areas that we can work on and improve, so I think it is definitely possible to catch up.
"I believe that if you look at the performance graph from Jenson from Bahrain, we had just about the potential to finish in front of the Force Indias. I do agree with Jenson then that we could be the second-fastest team after Mercedes, so the 'best of the rest' as they say.
"But it is very, very tight with everybody.
"We are working aggressively now to make sure we can catch up with Mercedes. We don't know if we will have caught them by the European races, but we will definitely try to close the gap as soon as possible.
"Obviously last year was a bit of a trauma here. Everybody is more than eager to get back to where we should be, but to do that we have to be careful not do it in a rush. We have to do it in a rationale mode. I think it is the perfect occasion to just look at ourselves and make sure we can fine tune our organisation and bring things back to how it should be. We will do that."
The McLaren Racing Direcor added that Mercedes' advantage probably won't be as apparent throughout, because they might struggle on circuits that have low downforce levels.
"I think every track now will favour one machine or another. Obviously somewhere like Monaco is an interesting example - it is a very high downforce circuit. You need a good driveable car, a well balanced car there. Obviously there are low downforce tracks too, like Monza. That will be another story," Boullier added.
"I think every track can ultimately change the pecking order. [But as of] today, I think low downforce tracks will favour us or help us."