WORK NEEDS TO BE DONE: McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne is waiting on engine supplier Honda to fix a timing problem. Image: AP Exchange
China - So dire is the Anglo-Japanese collaboration's situation early in 2017 that rumours of a split are rife.
Indeed, after Melbourne, team figures have warned that Shanghai will be even worse for the 2017 package, with up to a 117kW deficit possible after halfway down the long straight.
Too early to know
So when asked how long it will take for a fix, rookie driver Vandoorne answered: "It's too early to make predictions.
"But it's true that between the tests and the first race Honda already made progress. My car got to the finish and Fernando's almost did, although there is still much to be done.
The Belgian added: "How much time will it take? I'm not sure but let's see what will happen. McLaren and Honda are doing everything possible, as quickly as possible to solve the problems and make the car faster."
Indeed, already in Shanghai a radical new 'T-wing' has been added to the car, although Vandoorne admitted that one driver will sometimes have to go without the new parts.
He concluded by saying: "For myself and Fernando, in this situation, we will go all out and squeeze everything out of the car. Hopefully one day our efforts will be rewarded."