Zak Brown believes the winds of change will have a positive impact from the outset for McLaren, with a move up the grid starting in Australia.
Formula 1's second most successful team behind Ferrari was lost in the wilderness for three years following engine partner Honda's inability to deliver a reliable and competitive power unit.
But McLaren's new partnership with Renault has boosted the team's spirit and its prospects.
"Last year was the worst in the history of McLaren," Brown told CNBC while visiting the World Economic Forum in Davos where McLaren announced a commercial partnership with the American broadcaster.
"The last three years have been very painful."
Brown has put his marketing expertise to good use since joining McLaren in 2016, but admitted the team's funding, while adequate, is nowhere near the levels enjoyed by Mercedes or Ferrari.
"It's an expensive sport -- we're not able to compete financially with the top two teams," he acknowledged.
"We're still definitely one of the top four teams. We need to continue to improve there to put as much resource into our race team as possible.
"If we can get all of that right we're going to start to move up the grid significantly.
"I think you'll see us leap to the front in Australia," he said.
Fernando Alonso is also looking forward to McLaren's new dawn with Renault, and raring to get back into the competitive mix.
"Hopefully the last three years will be forgotten very quickly," Alonso said while attending NASCAR's pre-season presentation in Charlotte before heading to Daytona.
"It's a completely different game for us. We believe that we could be very, very competitive with a Renault power unit next year.
"All the preparations of the new car, it is looking much, much [more] promising than before. Our hopes for next year are very high. ... Definitely the mood of the team is completely different."