McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has admitted it could be until the first European rounds of the 2015 Formula 1 season that the MP4-30 begins to prove competitive.

The embattled team has endured a fraught winter testing period so far, its 'step forward' of 101 laps yesterday being negated by an oil leak today that limited the running to a mere 39 laps.

With just a single day of F1 testing to come before the opening round in Australia, the Honda-powered car has accumulated just 349 laps (little more than 1600km) and hasn't yet shown its full potential in terms of raw pace as McLaren struggles to get on top of persistent, time-sapping issues.

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Despite this, Boullier remains optimistic about the car's potential and is certain the direction McLaren is taking is the right one in the long-term.

"We are ambitious and we want to win as early as possible," he said. "It's true we didn't do as many laps as we wanted and that is going to hurt us on the performance side, but we will cope. It is just a delay, not that negative.

"There are many areas on the car where all the systems are working. The more mileage we put in, the more problems we will find but our pace is exactly where want it.

"There is no problem coming from the power unit or the chassis, we still need a full assessment. It is true we had some problems around the auxiliaries around the engine and because we have not put enough mileage we can't look at all the issues with the chassis.

Pushed on where the car stands heading to Melbourne, Boullier admits the flyways in Australia, Malaysia, China and Bahrain are destined to be difficult for McLaren, but feels the first European rounds from May onwards will begin to see progress.

"We won't be as ready for Melbourne as we would like but we will do our best. We have covered most of the issues and most of the systems.

"The positives are that everything is working to plan but the reliability is still a problem. I don't know how long that will take to improve. I think it is going to take a few races but at least by Europe we will be more competitive."

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I don't understand the negativity when all Mclaren and it's personel talk about is want they hope to do and never did once brag about anything.. I guess if they really did good there would be a lot of eggs in their faces..
I know there is no point for being fulfilling but I bet Ricciardo, Alonso and Button drove better in 2014 than anyone inc. the WC, having a bad car show what kind of driver they are. What did Lewis do in a bad Mclaren? Answer: crash into Massa's Ferrari and Button made him look ordinary. Fact is, Lewis can only be great on a great car.