McLaren believes that different track characteristics could be enough to wipe out Red Bull's advantage at the front of the field, as it targets ending its rival's dominant streak.
Sebastian Vettel has won the last four grands prix, and the extent of the advantage he has enjoyed in recent races has prompted some to suggest that he could win all the remaining races this season. But McLaren sporting director Sam Michael thinks that the competitive situation is more flexible than recent results suggest.
"The performance can swing from one track to another by a couple of tenths," he explained. "There are two or three tenths in terms of qualifying and, if you have that performance from [starting on] the front row, then you have a better chance.
"So, if no one upgraded cars, there would still be a reasonable chance you can have a go at [Red Bull]. But in terms of the overall championship it is quite different, because they need to have DNFs for people to take the title, and the chances of that happening are pretty slim."
Michael believes that the fact the F1 field is so competitive means that no team can be confident about its chances on any track.
"There is a swing from one circuit to another, and it is not to do with the developments you put on the car," he said. "In days gone by, when you had a one-second advantage over other cars, you could be confident you would not get those trends. But now there are no favorite tracks, so you don't know if you are going to be competitive until you get there."