Andrea Stella feels it is "important to acknowledge" the progress made by McLaren in 2023 as it eyes a late surge for fourth in the Constructors' Championship.
The launch-spec MCL60 was badly off the pace, but upgrade packages in Austria and Singapore have transformed the car into the second-quickest behind Red Bull.
After the slow start to the year, McLaren found itself languishing in the table as Aston Martin started the season strongly, but a reversal of fortunes now has the Woking squad finishing the stronger as Aston's season fizzles out.
In the Japanese Grand Prix, McLaren scored a two-three for 33 points compared to just four for Fernando Alonso's eighth place, with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri's efforts guiding the team to just 49 points behind with six rounds remaining.
Despite the surge in form, Team Principal Stella is keen for the team not to take its eye off the ball.
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Stella urges McLaren
"As we head into the Qatar Grand Prix week, it's important to acknowledge how far we have come in the season," Stella explained.
"Achieving a P2 and P3 in Japan was not an easy task, but it was made possible by the quality of the teams' work at the factory and trackside [at Suzuka].
"We're more determined than ever to continue improving, as we work towards being consistent in fighting at the top of the field.
"Qatar race is fairly new to F1, as we have only visited the Lusail International Circuit once before back in 2021.
However, this is the first time we will be bringing the new generation of cars here, so everyone will be trying to make the most of the practice sessions, and the Sprint format only adds to that challenge."