Eric Boullier says it is his target to see the McLaren-Honda team be competitive by the end of the 2015 Formula 1 season having shown glimmers of promise during round three in China.

McLaren's fraught start to its collaboration with returning engine supplier Honda has been well documented ever since a disastrous pre-season build up characterised by poor reliability, while the Australian Grand Prix opener showcased how far off the ultimate pace the team was in terms of performance too.

Nonetheless, since then McLaren has maintained an upward trajectory, culminating in a two-car finish at the Chinese Grand Prix, during which Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso firmly established themselves as having mid-field pace during free practice, if not qualifying or the race.

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It's this ongoing progress that leads Boullier to believe that the team will eventually come good and though he is refusing to put an exact timescale on it, he says McLaren should be competitive by the end of the year.

"The gap in the midfield is not that high and we are gaining half a second, more or less, every weekend. So then in one go we could go in to the middle or maybe even the front of the midfield. I don't know, it's too early. Everybody wants me to say when we will win a race, I have no f***ing idea, sorry!

"The target is we want to be competitive at the end of the season. That means we can prove our potential from both the car and the engine and the organisation."