Alpine driver Pierre Gasly has insisted there is no jealousy over McLaren's rise from F1's midfield scrap despite admiration for the work done by the Woking-based outfit.
Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri were forced to endure a testing opening to last year's campaign as the MCL60 battled a number of issues, initially performing poorer compared to the Alpine A523.
But a raft of upgrades mid-season took McLaren from the back end of the midfield to the midst of podium battles, often emerging as the nearest challenger to Red Bull and Max Verstappen.
Whilst Alpine enjoyed two podium visits - one apiece for Gasly and teammate Esteban Ocon - the French manufacturer was unable to make the kind of progress up the grid as seen by its rival and explaining why, the former AlphaTauri and Red Bull driver told media including RacingNews365.com: "It is for a lot of different reasons.
"There are things that we have improved... I was going through the list of when I joined the team - how many things I thought we needed to tackle, there was a huge list.
"I was going through it again: 'that's ticked, that's ticked', we have improved in many, many aspects but that really shows how much the other teams are also working and improving, which is frustrating because I think we are going in the right direction.
"But the others have probably done better with sudden steps. In the end, you can try to improve as much as you can but as long as you don't have the car to exploit that, that is it, you are stuck with the pace you have got.
"So the best thing that you can do is take the opportunities when they come. We have done that quite well as a team but we just need a car that is quicker initially and then when we exploit it on track, we will be sitting ready."
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'It is possible'
McLaren's rise has been the comparative benchmark for all midfield teams given the swift turnaround, which has been performed despite F1's regulatory tightness over development, both in terms of budget and testing time.
But Gasly insisted: "There's no jealousy or 'oh s**t, they've done a really good job'.
"To me, it is 'they've done it, so it is possible to be doing that.' So fair play, admiration for the work they have done.
"It is possible to get out of the midfield because they have, so why not us? My dad used to say 'two arms, two legs, two hands and two feet, so possible'. Go for it."