Despite a dismal three years of under-performance and failures with engine partner Honda , McLaren remained united and has ultimately emerged stronger.
Honda's inability to deliver a competitive and reliable hybrid power unit wreaked havoc on the Woking-based outfit's ambitions as it went through the worst period in its history.
The Japanese manufacturer's work last winter to revamp its engine carried the hope of a resurgence, but pre-season testing only confirmed to McLaren's Eric Boullier that things would get a lot worse before they would get better.
"I went to the management, showed them the data and told them that we cannot accept another year like this," Boullier told Formula1.com.
"We had a tough first year with Honda, we had a tough second year, and had expected progress good enough to get us back to where we belong – but Barcelona showed that we would go backwards and that was absolutely not an option.
"I obviously warned them about the consequences of another year of no results, where you keep everybody afloat.
"We have a new team, which has been reconstructed in the last three years: new people, very good new people – competitive people who used to win – and the danger was we'd lose them.
"The perception of a team is still very much based on drivers, because they are the faces of the team, but for me the real danger was losing those people.
"That was the discussion at the very beginning of the season."
The performance this year of McLaren's chassis, coupled with the potential of new engine partner Renault, has instilled confidence in the team's capacity to move up the ranks and return where it belongs.
"When you look at what we have achieved in terms of car performance – chassis performance – we know that we are back on the podium, at the top," he said.
"That for me is a huge reward – that we have achieved this in difficult circumstances. The other positive I take from the past three years is that the team is really joined now.
"We have been suffering so much for three years, but at the same time nobody has left the team. Everybody agreed that this team will be winning again.
"There is a huge trust and confidence in what we are trying to achieve and because of that we have gone up, up, up, keeping developing this car."