Days ago, the Belgian's boss at the British team - Eric Boullier - insisted: "We do not feel additional pressure.
It will put McLaren's claim of having one of the very best chassis on the grid under the microscope.
"In 2018 the pressure on the team is big because we have big points of comparison next to us," team driver Vandoorne, 25, told the Belgian broadcaster RTBF.
Vandoorne also said it is an important season for him personally, after a difficult start to his F1 career last year alongside Fernando Alonso.
"I still have work to do to be able to put a weekend together and better understand the car," he admitted.
"The speed is there if I put all the elements together," Vandoorne said.
"We have not set a goal for the season. For me, my point of reference is Fernando Alonso even if I focus mainly on myself. The results last year were not what I expected but I am now much stronger for the new season," he added.
"I was able to discover my team, my engineers and the circuits, and I also learned from an excellent teammate in Fernando how to adapt to a car that is not necessarily efficient and how to manage problems during a season."
"I had my first day in the simulator and with the engineers and we were able to discuss a lot about the new car," he said.
"I had my first feeling of the 2018 car -- the change (to Renault) will be great for us. Everyone is motivated to start testing and see what we can do on the track.
"We will know a little more about how the season will unfold in Barcelona," Vandoorne added.
Book discounted tickets and reservate your hotel room in our F1 Tickets Shop.