Fernando Alonso says the issues McLaren-Honda is having are "normal" following his seventh retirement of the season in the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Spanish driver was running in the points when he was forced to retire after a problem with his gearbox.
Teammate Jenson Button was also asked to park his car before the end of the race.
Alonso, who has finished in the points just twice this year, insists the season is still like a winter testing period for McLaren.
"We are not on top of the issues that we have with the car, but this is normal," said Alonso. "The project is too young.
"We now have the same mileage as Mercedes in Australia, so we are still in winter testing.
"These issues should not happen in race 13 but we are a little bit behind the pack."
The two-time champion said McLaren's form in Singapore showed that the team was right in believing it would be stronger on a track where engine performance was not so important.
"You could see I retired when I was in the points, and Jenson too, so it was real," he said. "It was a race where we could have scored if everything went right. and hopefully we'll have another chance in the races remaining.
"And if not, we'll learn things. We need to improve a lot, not only in terms of speed, but also on the reliability side, so we have a lot of homework for this winter."
Button said that despite the improved pace, there was nothing to be positive about after today's race.
"From today? No, not at all, but you have to say positive, because what's the other option?" said Button.
"There's a lot of people working hard in this team and they do their best and we'll get there in the end, it's a matter of time. It's just taking a long time, but it's the same for all of us."