Jenson Button says that McLaren must unlock the potential of their MP4-29 if they are to move forwards upon Formula 1's return to Europe.
Button finished the season opening Australian Grand Prix in third place but failed to score a point in either Bahrain or China as the team slipped back through the pecking order.
"[The return to Europe] always signals a bit of a fresh start to the season, and it’ll be an important one for us," he said ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.
"The Circuit de Catalunya is a demanding racetrack for any car – its combination of long, sweeping corners places the emphasis on aerodynamic performance, which is an area where we’re lacking at the moment.
"It’s always been a place where a competitive car will shine and a less-competitive one will struggle."
Although McLaren will be one of many teams bringing extensive updates to their car, Button reckons the team must first understand how the current components work.
"For us, it’s not simply about bringing new parts to the circuit: it’s about understanding and unlocking the car’s secrets, and using that understanding to take bigger steps with performance," he said.
"We’re still at the early stages with our car, and, for us, it’s less about the components that we fit to it, and more about the bigger picture – finding a useful direction, gaining trust in our measurements and pushing ahead.
"We all know that this team has the capacity to develop a car through a season, so I hope and trust that we’ll start to push forwards again soon."