McLaren technical director James Key admits he is surprised rival Formula 1 rivals did not adopt their novel diffuser solution but expects the team’s unique design to be quickly forgotten.

The Woking outfit turned heads in the paddock when its MCL35M car hit the track during the three-day pre-season test in Bahrain sporting a unique diffuser concept, something it had previously kept a secret at the team’s launch and shakedown at Silverstone.

McLaren’s interpretation of new diffuser rules - introduced as part of a bid to reduce downforce and slow cars down this year - caught the eye of rival team technical directors and proved a talking point of testing.

“I think we are a bit surprised that maybe we’re only team right now with that,” Key said. “It’s just one feature of many on an area which changed for this year.”

Key said the solution was one that gave McLaren particular pride, though he anticipates the paddock chatter will have swiftly moved on before the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix at the end of the month.

"I think it's always nice for a team to come up with an idea which is unique," he explained.

"The credit fully goes to our aerodynamics department and the guys in the rear aero group for realising that there was an opportunity there to use the new regulations in such a way. Full credit to them.

"In that aspect yes, of course it's nice to find something which is maybe a little bit unique to us. I suppose it's one of the visible things which gets talked about a lot, but ultimately it's just a bit of a much wider picture of a complex part of the back of the car.

“I'm sure it'll be forgotten by the time we get back here in a couple of weeks' time."