McLaren believes it has not taken a cautious approach to its new MP4-27 over the winter, despite the problems caused by the radical elements it tried in preseason testing last year.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said at the launch of the new car that McLaren is not expecting a repeat of last year's poor preseason. But he was keen to point out that the team had not opted for a careful approach to its development over the winter.
"This year we have not been cautious but we have found some good performance," Whitmarsh said. "We have set ourselves some tough targets that, if we reach, we think we can fight for the championship. We haven't reached those targets yet, but with some work we will do.
"We had, by anyone's standards, let alone McLaren's standards, an abysmal testing period last year. I would be happier not to fight those issues, and we have put a lot of work into this car and we are not expecting a repeat of last winter.
"I don't believe we have been inherently conservative. Inevitably, there are creative brains seeking to find a 'Eureka moment' that will bring seconds of performance, but sadly, in F1, those moments are limited."
Whitmarsh also admitted that, like most teams, McLaren still has a lot to add to the car between its launch spec and the version that will hit the track in Australia for the season opener.
"All teams will develop the cars, so the car unveiled as they pull the cloth back is not the car being used in Q1 in Australia," he said. "There will be great evolution in some teams.
"We have set targets that are tough. It is not just about testing or the first race, you have to improve the car through every single race if you want to win the championship. Providing we have a good car at the start of the season, then we should do well."