Former driver John Watson is expecting to see a much stronger McLaren-Honda at next weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
The British driver, who won four races with McLaren, believes the MP4-30, which has endured a difficult debut, has the base for a competitive car.
“It looks as if they’ve got a decent car, a decent chassis, which probably when an engine comes – in terms of being able to turn it up – is going to be a strong challenger,” he told GPUpdate.
“I would hope that between now and China [we] will see performance and reliability improvements.
“I would anticipate a much stronger performance than we have seen so far in the first two events.”
However, with just one race finish for the team out of a possible four, Watson is aware that competing with Mercedes will take far longer.
“It will take maybe until the end of the year to expose the full potential of what they’ve got,” he added.
“In 2016 they will be looking to win races, and to be a serious contender, and 2017, all things being equal, will be when they consider if they are in a position to challenge for a championship.”