Eric Boullier isn't expecting McLaren to outperform at the outset with its new engine partner Renault, and considers time will be necessary to the partners' relationship.
McLaren recently put an end to its painful three year association with Honda following the most unsuccessful and unfruitful period in its 50-year history.
Its alliance with Renault for 2018 has boosted the team's prospects and rekindled its hopes of returning to the front of the field.
But Boullier says the fresh working relationship with its engine supplier will inevitably endure a running-in period, making difficult any performance comparisons with Red Bull, which is also powered by Renault.
"If you have a 10-year relationship with a partner obviously you have a different connection which we don’t have yet as we are building the relationship," Boullier said.
"It is going to take some time but we are very motivated to do the best. If you are McLaren you are designed for winning so we will do everything we can to be winning."
Red Bull Racing will however offer an interesting benchmark by which McLaren will gauge its progress.
"If you have the full package which means an okay engine, the best car and the best crew and driver you should be winning. So for us the pressure is the same.
"I like it because I am fan of no bullshit so if you have a team next door with the same engine it means if you don’t beat them something is wrong with the rest of the car. That is perfect."