McLaren have begun work on securing their first title sponsor since 2013.
Following the appointment of Formula One sponsorship guru Zak Brown as an executive director last month, the British team were expected to have a major backer in place for the 2018 season.
Now Brown has revealed that talks are already under way with a number of potential sponsors.
"I'm talking to many people, but we'll focus on having a big brand for 2018," Brown told Marca.
"Honestly, negotiations have already begun, but they're at an early stage," Brown added.
While admitting that the sponsorship search would be easier if McLaren, who hasn't won a race since 2012, were more competitive, Brown did say that he was optimistic of the team performing well in 2017.
"Everyone is optimistic about 2017," he said. "Honda is providing more power and if we can make the same jump we took from 2015 to 2016, we will be in a good position."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing