At the launch of the McLaren MCL32 on February 24 there was optimism in the air, a hope that Honda's new engine would transform the team's fortunes in 2017, but when I went back to Woking two weeks later, to talk to Zak Brown, the barometer had fallen: in the intervening period there had been the test sessions at Barcelona.
"I think the longest run we did was eight laps," says Brown, "and the most we did in a day was 70-something. Certainly we did fewer than any other team, and through the [speed] trap we were 26km/h [16mph] down on the best. Hard to make that up - I'd say impossible!
"It's not where Honda thought they would be, but we know they're giving it all they've got, so giving them grief through the media serves no purpose."