McLaren cannot afford another season like 2015 if it is going to keep its drivers committed, reckons racing director Eric Boullier.
Despite a challenging season, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button rarely let their frustrations get the better of them.
However, with hopes high that changes Honda is making to its engine will deliver a good step forward this year, Boullier is well aware that the pressure is on the team to ensure that there is genuine progress from the start of the season.
When asked if the drivers will stay positive if the car is no better at the first 2016 test, Boullier said: "I don't think so. We cannot have another year like this…
"The drivers have bought into what we have done because we have been transparent with them. But for sure they don't want to have another one like this.
"They are in F1 to compete to win, or to be competitive at least."
Boullier has said he takes heart from the fact that both Alonso and Button remained so faithful to the project until the final race, despite their obvious disappointment with the lack of results.
"What is very important for me is that even at the last race they were still in some ways positive with us," he said.
"They were frustrated by the lack of performance, but to have them after 19 races still in this mood was good.
"I read some comments again from Fernando saying that he had no regrets about his move and he believes in the team – which he says every two weeks, and when he is talking to the factory he says the same.
"So to have this trust still intact after the season [we've had], that for me is very, very reassuring."