Andreas Seidl feels it's critically important that his team are "crystal clear" on the fact that other teams did a better job preparing for F1's new regulation cycle than McLaren.
Having had upward momentum over the past three seasons as McLaren bounced back from the lows of their Honda-engined days, the team look set to struggle to retain fourth place in the Constructors' Championship in 2022.
Following technical issues at the final pre-season test, the new MCL36 has lacked performance in the first two races of the campaign, scoring only six points.
With McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo openly admitting the new car is suffering from a fundamental lack of downforce, Seidl has pointed to a transparent mindset that he wanted his entire team to employ as they come to terms with their falling down the competitive order.
"It's quite a straightforward answer," Seidl told media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked whether other teams had prepared for the rules reset better than McLaren.
"In the end, we have to accept that other teams did a better job than us over the winter – that's why we are where we are.
"That's what we acknowledged quite quickly, within the team. It's very important to be crystal clear on that, and use the frustration that we've seen and switch it into energy to strike back as quickly as possible."
Did McLaren achieve their own targets?
While the MCL36 has clearly not measured up to some rival cars, the question mark is whether McLaren under-estimated the performance potential of other teams, or whether the design team knew from early on that they were going to be behind.
It's a question that Seidl didn't want to answer directly, with the team boss simply saying McLaren aren't performing at the level he would expect.
"I don't want to go too much into detail of our internal processes," he explained.
"The beauty of the sport we're in is that the lap time, in the end, tells you where you are and how good a job you have done as a team.
"It is clear, when we look at what we've seen so far this season, we are not where we want to be as a team. [It's also clear] where we can be as a team and where we have to be as a team with everything we have in place.
"That's why we're working hard now, and [are] fully committed and united within the team in order to correct this as quickly as possible."
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Where do McLaren go from here?
Having experienced a solid initial pre-season test in Barcelona, Seidl said the desire was there to continue the upward momentum the Woking-based outfit have enjoyed over the past few seasons.
But, given the situation that has unfolded, Seidl stressed the importance of McLaren realising that their competitors are trying equally as hard to improve, and that this setback will be a real test of spirit.
"Of course, it was a disappointment for us," he admitted of the team's start to the season.
"Because it was clear, after the positive development we have seen also within the team and everything we have put in place, we simply wanted to continue with this positive journey.
"In the end, you have to accept it's a sport. Everyone else is trying as hard as we do, with a lot of talents in their team as well, to be competitive.
"They have to accept that you can be in situations where other teams do a better job than yourself, and then it's simply important to show fighting spirit and spirit that you need to have also in a sports team to strike back.
"[We have] to use everything we have put in place over the last two or three years, in terms of organisation, in terms of culture, not to end up in any blaming games or whatever. And just use all the energy you have within the team in order to come back as quickly as possible."
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