The Woking-based outfit has endured a troubled 2013 campaign and, with no sign of a dramatic improvement in the pace of the MP4-28, it has chosen to ease back its work on this season.
It is now diverting its resources in to work on 2014 amid the hope that an early start will give it an advantage over rivals who still have to push hard with their current machinery.
When asked by AUTOSPORT if he was confident the team understood enough about what went wrong this year to not repeat the error in 2014, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "Yes I am. Often you learn more from mistakes.
"So in terms of the motivation of the team, the focus of the team and the learning it has been good."
Whitmarsh said the decision to effectively abandon the 2013 car had been a tough one to take, but he hoped it was best for the long term.
"I can't remember us having the luxury of being able to choose, because a weakness of ours is we fight to win both championships and races," he added.
"It is difficult to wrench yourself away from that.
"By looking for a positive out of this, it is sobering and it has been a kick up the pants."
McLaren's decision to focus on 2014 means there is unlikely to be any dramatic developments coming on board for the forthcoming young driver test at Silverstone.
Whitmarsh said the team still hoped to unlock more speed from its current car, however, as it was playing catch-up compared to its rivals.
"We are disappointed in this year's car and we rightly should be because ultimately it is relevant performance [compared to rival teams] that counts," he said.
"In absolute performance we are quicker than last year, it is just we put ourselves back.
"We are about six months behind the others in terms of developments, and I think that was a fairly well documented mistake we made as a team."
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- Martin Whitmarsh