Feb.1 (GMM) Ahead of the launch of the team's 2012 car, former driver Gerhard Berger has crowned McLaren the very best in Formula One.
Since Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 title, however, the Woking based squad has not added to its tally of world championships.
"Actually, McLaren is basically the best team," Austrian Berger told Auto Motor und Sport magazine.
"They don't have (Adrian) Newey and yet they still build good cars all the time. This shows they have a strong, broad-based team of engineers.
"With the Mercedes they have the best engine in the field and a very good driver pairing," he added.
Another of Berger's former teams is Ferrari, but he says the great Italians now remind of his own era rather than the ultra-success achieved by Jean Todt, Michael Schumacher, Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn.
"Now they're back where they were in my time," he insisted, "winning one race per season and finishing third.
"The success in between those periods really was about those four people. Probably now it would be enough for them to just take away Newey from Red Bull. Aerodynamics are just that important."
And Berger said he is not surprised that Mercedes is struggling to find its feet, despite having Brawn at the helm.
"Not really. Ross Brawn is a very good technical manager, a great strategist, but he does not build the car," he insisted.