Such is the discontent between McLaren and Honda that Eric Boullier has openly admitted that the Woking team would be race winners, if only they were using a different power unit.
Struggling for reliability and pace throughout this year’s pre-season testing, McLaren have pointed the finger at engine partner Honda.
Speaking at the start of the second test, double World Champion Fernando Alonso said: “We have only one problem which is the power unit.
“There is no reliability and there is no power. We are 30kph down on the straight.”
Honda being the problem is a sentiment echoed, and publicly by Racing Director Boullier.
In a recent interview with Spanish daily AS, he was asked if McLaren could win races if they had remained with Mercedes.
He replied: “I think we would.”
Pressed on whether wins with Mercedes power would be possible in 2017, he said: “Yes, we’d be winning again.”
Boullier also cast doubt over whether McLaren would reach the chequered flag in Melbourne.
“I hope so, but I don’t know,” he said.
“The truth is we’re having more problems than we expected.
“We knew that we’d encounter some things, but truly not as many as we’re seeing. We’re always working to reduce the [number] of problems and to be able to go faster.”