Jenson Button says McLaren will not win a race with the MP4-28 in its current form.
“The way the car is at the moment, this package that is sat in the garage right now is not going to win a race,” he said after the Australian Grand Prix.
McLaren endured a miserable start to the season in Melbourne, with Button lining up 10th on the grid and team mate Sergio Perez 15th. They finished the race 9th and 11th respectively.
The MP4-28 suffered chiefly from poor ride over the bumpy Albert Park track. But it also lacked grip, understeered and gave poor consistency.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh described Friday practice with the car as “one of the hardest days I can recall”.
McLaren find themselves in a similar situation to that which Ferrari had at the beginning of last season. The F2012 was not on the pace of the front-runners during the first four races.
However Fernando Alonso was able to score an impressive win in Malaysia, scene of the next race, taking advantage of wet weather conditions.
During wet conditions in qualifying in Australia Button showed the team have the potential to spring a similar surprise. He was fourth in the rain-affected Q2 session, but dropped back when the track dried out later on.
Until McLaren make some progress with their car, wet weather may be their best chance of achieving a result.
“We need to bring updates and move this car forward,” he added. “That is the only way we will see good results and wins. We have been in bad positions before and come back strong. It is just a pity that we have lost out so much at the start of the year.”