Carlos Sainz is not expecting to make a big leap up the F1 grid in 2019.
Sainz told EFE news agency that his dream of winning the world championship is therefore "far away".
Sainz says McLaren - his team for 2019 - has had "a difficult year" in which "they realised they were maybe not going in the right direction".
"But I think that has helped them to learn, reset a bit and start from zero. That means we must be realistic and know that we will probably be fighting for positions similar to the ones I am fighting for right now with Renault."
Nonetheless, he says McLaren is not a dud move for his career.
In fact, Sainz said the Woking team is a "safe bet" as it is "the second most prestigious F1 team".
"All the companies, all the teams, all the drivers go through highs and lows and McLaren is in one of its lows. But I also believe that, being one of the best teams in the history of F1, they will know how to recover," he added.