Ron Dennis says it would be 'foolhardy' for him to set out a timetable for McLaren and Honda to return to the top of F1 - even though he remains adamant that the partnership will succeed.

The Woking team has gone seven long years since its last world titles - although Dennis is keen to point out that Ferrari's drought is longer - and the start of 2015 suggests that an eighth season in the wilderness is likely before any turnaround in form propels the silver machines back to the front. The rekindled relationship with Honda, however, is giving the entire McLaren operation hope for the future, even if the initial steps are faltering ones.

"We enjoyed huge success when Mercedes-Benz was our power unit partner, but the fact is that a team doesn't tend to enjoy the same level of success when its status is downgraded from power unit partner to power unit customer," Dennis explained in an interview with the official F1 website, "With Honda, we don't have that problem, because Honda is our power unit partner - and a massively committed one to boot.

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"We knew this season would be tough, but we're making progress with every grand prix. I'm not saying that development will always be linear - on the contrary, we'll sometimes see positive performance spikes and we'll sometimes see less positive performance dips as our season ebbs and flows - but the overall shape of our performance curve will be upward.

"And that's no accident. It's the result of a huge amount of diligent work by a large number of experienced and expert operatives in both the UK and Japan, and a great deal of careful planning by myself, by Jonathan [Neale], by Eric [Boullier] and, of course, by Honda's Yasuhisa Arai-san and his team. We've hired some great new engineering talents too, who are blending very well with our longer-established engineers here in Woking and the results are clear to see. I'm excited and optimistic.

"McLaren-Honda will see the fruits of all that effort. Mark my words! We'll win together and, when we do so, we'll do so dominantly. I don't want to put a timeframe on that prediction, because that would be foolhardy but, whenever I walk around the McLaren Technology Centre, speaking as I do to our people at the sharp end, what I encounter is fierce determination, burning ambition, unshakable confidence and unbreakable esprit. That makes me very proud. We're pulling together, all of us, and we know we'll get there.

"The reason I'm saying the mood is good is that the mood is indeed good! And when you stop and take the trouble to consider why the mood might be good - when you weigh up all the positive elements I've outlined for you - then I think a sensible and fair-minded reader would be forced to concede that it's not at all surprising that the mood is good. Very good actually!"