McLaren still have a long way to go, but Racing Director Eric Boullier says feels the amount of progress they have made is "exceptional".
The Woking-based squad's renewed relationship with Honda got off to a shaky start during pre-season testing and the MP4-30's lack of mileage showed during the first race of the season in Malaysia.
Kevin Magnussen, who was standing in for the injured Fernando Alonso, didn't even start the race in Melbourne due to an engine problem while Jenson Button finished last, two laps behind the race winner.
They showed some improvements in Malaysia with Alonso claiming they chalked off 1.5s off their pace, but further progress is needed says Boullier.
"We're not in the points, yeah we're in front of the Force India but that's not where we want to be," he told Autosport.
"We are not measuring the absolute performance yet – that is when you start to fight for a pole and win – but we are measuring the relative one compared with Barcelona testing and Australia, and it was a massive difference.
"Both drivers were happy actually with the car balance and driveability which is very important, but we have to keep going like this."
Both Button and Alonso retired in Malaysia while they were battling the Force Indias, but there are plenty of positives following their sluggish start to in testing.
"It's definitely improved but we need to go another step," he said of reliability.
"Obviously the ancillaries can be reliability developed on a dyno, and obviously we missed mileage in testing so we have to fix little things."
He added: "There is still a long way to go as there's not so much you can do in two weeks, but what we have done is exceptional.
"The whole team should be proud of how they have stayed together and stayed positive, as it is not easy for any of us, but it's good to see the progress."