McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has revealed the team are using this season's car as a 200mph mobile "laboratory" ahead of their return to Honda power for next year.
McLaren will bring the curtain down on a 20-year relationship with Mercedes at the end of the current campaign and switch to Honda, who return to Formula One after a seven-year absence.
The transition is one of the great unknowns for 2015: a question of whether Honda will be able to power McLaren to glory again, as they did during their previous association from 1988-92, or prove as bad as when they ran their own team in 2007 and 2008.
For now, the Woking-based marque are gathering whatever information they can to strengthen their hand for next season.
"If you remember the regulations (for 2015), the pick-up points are the same for the chassis and the gearbox," said Boullier. "So we are developing this car, and we are going to keep developing it for a long time as most of the upgrades will carry over to next year.
"That is why we are using this car as, let's say, a laboratory for next year."
Such an 'experiment' means McLaren are again enduring a tough year as they are currently fighting over fifth and sixth in the constructors' championship with Force India.
Not since 1981 have McLaren finished as low as sixth, which means the work over the closing eight races following the summer break is key to their hopes of any success in 2015.
"Everybody is working hard to get to where we want to go, and that work is paying off," added Boullier.
"You can see on track we are bringing upgrades every race, and we are starting to work a little bit in a higher position.
"So, as mentioned, we will keep developing this year's car as far as possible and for as long as possible as we obviously prepare for the arrival of our new engine partner for next year."
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