McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has warned the team still faces limitations in its quest to return to the front of the F1 grid.
The Woking-based outfit dropped to fifth in the constructors' standings after failing to overcome the challenge presented by Alpine across the season, despite Lando Norris' efforts to outscore both Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.
The team has not won a championship since Lewis Hamilton clinched the 2008 drivers' title and whilst the McLaren Technology Centre was once at the forefront of F1 factory operations, others have overtaken this benchmark.
Amongst other projects, McLaren is awaiting the completion of a wind tunnel, leading to Seidl issuing a warning over potential gains until infrastructure projects are complete.
“We know that we still have deficits, big deficits, especially on the infrastructure side for the development of next season’s car," said Seidl.
"Our new wind tunnel will only be finished midway through next year and our new driving simulator will only be finished midway through next year.
“All of the other updates that we are also doing on the infrastructure will only be finished at some point next year, for example, on the manufacturing side.
“That simply means that if teams that have been finishing the last constructors’ championship ahead of us this year, plus even teams that are behind us but are using state-of-the-art infrastructure like Sauber, like Aston Martin that is using the Mercedes wind tunnel, if they do the same good job as us, there is a realistic chance they will finish ahead of us because we simply have limitations.
“At the same time, we are racing guys and we obviously try to work as hard as possible in order to shortcut the journey that we are in or in order to do a better job to still be ahead together with Lando and Oscar [Piastri].
“That will be the mission we are in again next year."
But insisting the team remains positive ahead of what could be another difficult year, Seidl added: "We know all of these steps that we still have to make, all of these deficits that we still have to overcome are coming.
"That’s also what keeps us going and keeps us focused on making these final steps.
“But obviously, we have a very realistic timeline.”