Lewis Hamilton insists he is not frustrated at the prospect of McLaren having to start the season playing catch-up again.
The team has lacked both pace and reliability in winter testing so far, but Hamilton says he remains optimistic that improvements will not take long.
"I'm positive. I love racing, I'm looking forward to racing," he said. "I'm always hoping for the most optimistic improvement. I'm always hoping that all of a sudden they'll say 'okay, we've got this coming' and we'll arrive there and the day before we'll have something new.
"You never know when that could happen so let's keep our fingers crossed and try to keep an eye on what the guys are doing. I know everyone's working as hard as they can. No one's slacking or sitting back. We know we have a bit of a hill to climb, but we can do it."
He added: "I don't like to use the word 'frustrating' because I'm not frustrated. It's tough on everyone in the team because everyone puts so much work into it, and you see it come out and look so beautiful, and... it's not a disaster, it just doesn't have as much performance as we'd like at the moment. But it's a foundation that we can build on, and that's all that really matters.
"It means that we can get there. If you look at last year, we didn't have the fastest start at the beginning but we were there or thereabouts and second in the constructors' championship. It's a long, long year and I have no doubts that we can compete with these guys."
Hamilton believes McLaren's long-run pace is looking more promising that its single-lap form – although reliability also remains a concern.
"I've done some long runs on the tyres on previous days, and I think the car's feeling a lot better," he said. "So I think our race pace doesn't seem so bad. Whether we can finish the race is the next thing. But our race pace doesn't look so bad compared to other people's."
He admitted that he does not think McLaren can currently compete with the pace teams such as Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull displayed on qualifying-style runs this week.
"Yesterday I looked at the times and everyone's done a 1m21s," said Hamilton. "I couldn't get into the 1m21s the other day. I just got into the 1m22s. So based on my times compared to them it looks like we're two seconds off, but we're not two seconds off. Yesterday Jenson [Button] didn't do any light-fuel runs or decent tire runs, so it's difficult to know exactly where we are.
"I'm assuming they did qualifying runs. 1m21.2s is very competitive. I would guess that we could get down to a low 1m22s maybe, but that's just a guess."
• Click here for the full interview with Hamilton from Barcelona