Jenson Button concedes this coming winter will be vital for McLaren's challenge as they need to rebound after a wretched 2015 campaign.
McLaren's first season back under Honda power has not gone according to plan.
Although reliability has improved of late with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finishing more races than they did in the first half of the campaign, points have not been flowing.
Between the two World Champions they have managed just 27 points with Button edging Alonso in the standings.
It has been a year of learning for the fledgling partnership with Button admitting they are facing a tough winter in order to get up to speed ahead of the 2016 campaign.
"Lots of learning. It's obviously still… I know we keep saying it, but it is still a very young partnership," he explained during Thursday's press conference in Brazil.
"We've learned so much this year with the power unit, with the idea of the aerodynamics of the car, because it's very different to a normal McLaren, so there is a lot of learning to take from this season.
"We obviously need to make a big step next year – we know that – so it's going to be a long, hard winter, but an exciting one as well."
Pressed as to what McLaren's weaknesses and strengths are, Button highlighted the latter insisting that McLaren is still the "same team" that won 12 Drivers' titles and eight Constructors' Championships.
He said: "We don't have any weaknesses, we're perfect. Where are the strengths? No, we have a lot of strengths and I think everyone knows McLaren and what they've achieved. It is still the same team.
"In terms of what we do on a race weekend, I think we're doing a very good job, we're getting the best out of what we have, I think maximising the potential of what we have at the moment.
"The issues for us are, as I've said before, it's a lot younger our project, than others so it does take time and obviously during a season it's very difficult to make changes but this winter is a very important one for us, to make those big changes and come out a lot stronger next year because we don't want to be where we are, we want to be fighting near the front.
"Whether we can win races or not, that's another question but I think we can at last fight at the front next year. There's a lot of hard work going on and I think another positive with this team is the confidence.
"Even in difficult times like now there's still a lot of confidence in the team and they're still working flat out to improve the car and the power unit, so there’s a good atmosphere which a lot of people are surprised about but there really is."