Fernando Alonso on Sunday put on a brave face as he admitted his first day in the MP4-30 was a "slow start" to his new chapter at McLaren.
The Spaniard, having switched from Ferrari to spearhead the new works Honda era, did just 6 uncompetitive laps all day in his new 2015 office, while Mercedes looked set to dominate yet again.
"They (Mercedes) have the continuation of a dominant car," Alonso told reporters, "so it is a little bit easier than for us who have a new power unit.
"But we have a very streamlined, aggressive car design and I don't think that Mercedes will win so many races this year. They are the favourites, yes, but I think all the other teams are closer than last year," he added.
The whole team believes in this project and it's a fantastic feeling.
Although McLaren is struggling at present, Alonso said he is settling in for the long haul, and not predicting any of the problems that so badly marred his first tenure at Woking in 2007.
"I've changed," he is quoted by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"I was only 25 years old. Now is the perfect time to get back together.
"With Eric (Boullier), the team is more open and international, the design has changed completely with Peter (Prodromou), and Honda is back after 22 years.
"The whole team believes in this project and it's a fantastic feeling," Alonso insisted.
The 33-year-old also could not resist throwing a couple of barbs at Ferrari, where his replacement Sebastian Vettel managed to top Sunday's times in the new red SF15-T.
"Last year we were also among the fastest on Fridays," Alonso is quoted by Brazil's Globo, "and then on Saturday and Sunday we fell back."
And he also alluded to Ferrari when asked if he is prepared to sit and wait for McLaren-Honda to get up to speed.
"I think the past five years has shown I can be patient," Alonso answered.