McLaren had no option but to be ambitious in the design of its new Formula 1 car for the 2018 season despite enduring a difficult pre-season testing programme, according to racing director Eric Boullier.

Following its split with Honda after three difficult seasons, McLaren's new partnership with engine supplier Renault got off to a bumpy start in Barcelona as the team suffered numerous issues on its car, causing it to slump to the bottom of the mileage charts.

Fernando Alonso was able to recover from an early issue on Friday to record the third-fastest time of the test, but concerns about another year of hardship for McLaren linger.

Asked to respond to those suggesting McLaren had "lost its way", Boullier said to "wait and see" what the team was capable of in the season before making a final judgement.

"[You can't] judge based on a few issues on three days, it's better to wait a few races," Boullier said.

"The last three years was a difficult context. We are now trying to get McLaren back where it should be. Like anything, you don't do it in one day. There are maybe a few glitches.

"We have not lost our capability of designing fast cars, and I hope you will see it on-track soon. We have to be ambitious.

"That's also why to be ambitious we have to take risks. We need to put everything back together and are working together."

While Boullier conceded the odds of further reliability issues at the start of the season were increased by the reduced test running, the Frenchman said that a rebuild of the car ahead of the season-opener in Australia on March 25 should help McLaren's cause.

"Obviously we have not run as much as we wanted, so there will be a higher risk of failure somewhere," Boullier said.

"Nevertheless, we had only minor issues which were all different.

"I think a good rebuild of the car for Australia will help us to fix a few issues."


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