Andreas Seidl has denied a 'miracle' was ever on the cards for McLaren despite the introduction prior to the past F1 season of new technical regulations.
McLaren slipped to fifth in the constructors' standings last term, continuing a steady slide after finishing third in 2020 and fourth in 2021.
Speaking to GPFans before his switch to join Sauber as its new CEO, Seidl explained how initial teething problems did nothing to aid the team's progress.
“When I look back at the season, you ask me what were the two biggest challenges, then the first was definitely the start," he said.
‘We unexpectedly had these issues with the brakes, which put us on the back foot a lot in terms of being ready for the first race.
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"We hardly did any mileage at the test, when it was especially important to do so because of having brand-new cars."
McLaren has invested heavily in a number of crucial infrastructure projects which should allow the team to compete with those at the front once they are online.
The wind tunnel is expected to be ready midway through 2023, meaning the true benefit will begin to be felt in the following two years.
The lack of such infrastructure at the start of the new regulation set clearly hampered McLaren and drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.
Referring to the second challenge, Seidl added: “In terms of performance, I always had realistic expectations.
"I never had in mind these miracles of suddenly being at the front with the new regulations.
“There's no reason why teams - better teams because they have the infrastructure and are an established organisation that has built it all up over the last 10, 12, 15 years - shouldn’t do a better job, especially when you have a blank sheet of paper."