Whether anyone really believed that in 2017 McLaren had the best chassis and that it was merely the Honda that was holding the team back is debatable.
Now, team boss Zak Brown, in the wake of the departure of Eric Boullier, and yet another management restructuring, is taking a more cautious approach, admitting it will be "years' before the Woking squad is a force again.
"This is going to take some time to fix," he admitted ahead of his team's home Grand Prix, a race the legendary team has won on 14 occasions.
"I think we are years away," he continued. "I don't know if that's two or ten, or somewhere in between. Probably more like somewhere in between, but I don't want to get into predictions.
I think we have to be very realistic and honest with ourselves, with our fans, with you, to say that this is going to be a journey. I think everyone needs to recognise that. I think we had a good finish in the last race relative to where we started, but we were uncompetitive.
"Not much has changed since the last race, so I think everyone needs to not starting having too high expectations, ourselves included, at Silverstone, because all that has really happened is five or six days have gone by.
"The structure is not allowing certain individuals to be as entrepreneurial as I would like them to be," he admitted, indicating yet another overhaul of the management in the pipeline. "It has not enabled them to make decisions quickly enough.
"I think sometimes there is an appropriate time for decision by committee and then I think there are also times when it should be decisions by individuals, and at times our decision making process and the speed in which we make decisions get gridlocked. That needs to change, and I think our biggest issue has been structural and organisational.
"There is great talent that we need to unleash that in the current environment has not been able to blossom. Also, bringing in people from the outside that have other experiences to help contribute to shaping a quicker, faster organisation."
In a startling admission, Brown revealed that the MCL33 has less downforce than its predecessor.
"We don't have the same level of downforce this year that we had last year," he said. "So we have identified an area in which our car this year is weaker than last year's car.
"Did we have the best chassis last year? No, definitely not," he added. "Did we have probably a better chassis? I think because of all the different variables it would be hard to definitively say yes or no, but we know we have less downforce this year than last year.
"Yesterday is the start of the journey, we're not done," he insisted. "We're ultimately working towards developing a faster racing team and a faster racing car, so I would not look at what we've announced as a finished product. That is just the starting point."
"We're in a pretty big fight for fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh," he said, "all the teams are very close there. I don't want to make predictions, that has got us into trouble in the past so I don't want to repeat some of the mistakes we've made. What I'd like to do and what we are going to do is fight like mad to finish fourth in the championship."