McLaren has been forced to resort to a laborious trial and error approach to try and solve the aero issues impacting its MCL33 because the underlying design flaw cannot be seen in the wind tunnel.
Despite its change to Renault power this season, and a boat load of good will and hope, McLaren's performance has not lived up to expectations, its 2018 chassis suffering from a chronic aero issue.
Both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne failed to make it through Q1 in qualifying, their car's excessive drag wreaking havoc on its top speed down Paul Ricard's two main straights.
The aero issues pinning down McLaren have been identified, according to CEO Zak Brown, but cannot be solved by wind tunnel testing alone because the problem fails to appear in the facility.
"I think we have identified the areas in which we have a problem, or problems," Brown explained.
"It's in aerodynamics. It's something that doesn't show up in the wind tunnel. Therefore, we can't try to solve it in the wind tunnel because we can't replicate the issue or issues.
"It's not a wind tunnel issue. What we've identified as the areas of weakness just simply doesn't show up in a wind tunnel."
The problem has forced McLaren's engineers to experiment on race weekends with various wing and floor configurations, a very time consuming approach for the Woking-based outfit.
"While most other teams are now on their development path, their base programme is working for them, we're having to identify and work to solve these issues," added the McLaren boss.
"We have identified the general area of issues, so we know what we're chasing. What we don't obviously have yet is the solution in place."
Regarding McLaren's internal affairs which made headlines this week following sensational revelations by an anonymous Woking employee, Brown insisted that senior management would remain in place until the end of the season, including racing director Eric Boullier.
"I can confirm that everybody on the race team will be in Abu Dhabi," he said.
"I'm not going to get into any personnel changes as a race team of 7-800 people.
"Eric is a valued member of the team. Clearly we have to identify why we've missed this year's aero and the development of the car."