Fernando Alonso fears that the Austrian Grand Prix could be an 'even worse' weekend for McLaren than Canada, as he faces an engine penalty.
Despite having the latest upgrade package, Alonso is set to start from the back of the grid – and may even also face additional race penalties – for a tactical engine change.
And after a Canadian GP weekend that has exposed how much more performance McLaren-Honda needs to find, the Spaniard is not expecting a dramatically different experience this time out.
"It will be another weekend where it is going to be tough, and probably the results will not look good," he explained.
"There are some penalties probably to face, so I think it is going to be a test weekend for us; but it will be important because there are some updates on the car.
"Hopefully we come out of this weekend with some answers. We have a test next week as well, so there are important days ahead for us.
"I am optimistic with things that are coming to the car in the near future, but in terms of result it will not change much this weekend – in fact it could be even worse."
Although Alonso expected McLaren to be in a more competitive state than it is right now, he is adamant that he is not losing faith in the team being able to make the progress it needs in the future.
"Obviously the position we found ourselves in winter testing was not ideal, and probably we expect a little bit more, but that is the way it is," he said.
"The performance has been always been improving race after race and here will be the case as well.
"The thing here is the final result [and] if it will be good enough to make us happy because with the penalties, we will start already at the back and face some extra penalties. So that is not ideal.
"But in terms of performance we expect a lot from the car in the next month or two months. We will see how we end up before the summer and how we end up at the end of the year – and that will give us some hope for next year.
"That is the way it is, and why I remain optimistic. I see the people in the team, I see the programme in terms of chassis and engine, I see the resources and talent, and it is a question of time.
"Hopefully we make it short that period of learning that we are having at the moment, but I am optimistic."