Fernando Alonso says McLaren is the best team he has worked with in his career, despite the Woking squad's lack of results over the past two seasons.
The Spanish driver rejoined McLaren from Ferrari at the start of 2015, when Ron Dennis' team was reunited with engine supplier Honda.
After a disastrous 2015 season, the team has made progress this year, but it is still far from the leading outfits and sits seventh in the standings with just 42 points.
Alonso insists McLaren is not as competitive as it should because of the struggles of last year, but he still believes the team is the best he has ever worked with.
"We are in the right direction, the team is strong, the technical people we have, we are united," said Alonso. There is a good balance in the team, in the staff, in the design group.
"It's probably the best team I've been with in my career.
"We are not competitive because we have a lot of problems to solve from last year, we weren't ready to compete at this level. We had to make sure the reliability was in place, power, driveability, aerodynamics. Everything had to change a lot and we had find a direction.
"In terms of the team, the structure, the organisation, this is the best group that I've been working with."
Alonso reckons the 2017 rules overhaul offers McLaren a good opportunity to make a big step forward, as he concedes the team would be unable to fight for the title next year if the rules had stayed unchanged.
"If we stayed with the same regulations as this year, probably not, because even if we had the same power as Mercedes, Mercedes is clearly ahead of everyone in terms of aerodynamics and everything," Alonso said.
"The change opens a hope for all of us, not only at McLaren, everything is new for everyone. Let's go step by step and hope that we have a competitive engine, and the new rules make us more competitive on the chassis side, allow us to use new ideas and philosophies."
The two-champion considers 2016 as a transition year, with the team already focused on next season's car.
"We don't care too much [about our position this year]," he said. "We are concentrated on being world champions, which requires a big improvement for next year.
"A lot of effort is being made this year are for next year's car, so all the new parts we are trying are to try and understand next year what direction to go.
"The power unit will be the key factor, it's the main limitation for us now, so we need to push to have a power unit comparable to our opponents. The priority is totally on 2017 in our heads."
Additional reporting by Jamie Klein