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McLaren in 'race against time' to get Bahrain test back on track

McLaren have endured a difficult start to this week's pre-season test in Bahrain, with brake issues hampering Lando Norris' efforts behind the wheel.

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl says the outfit are in a battle to salvage their week of testing at the Bahrain International Circuit after encountering brake problems on the MCL36. Lando Norris was restricted to 50 laps on the opening day of the test, the second-lowest tally, with McLaren unable to work through any longer runs due to brake temperatures running high . Norris managed only 29 more laps in Friday morning's session, with television cameras capturing plenty of lock-ups and off-track excursions as he struggled to stop the car under braking. With the issues persisting, McLaren are trying to rush through updates ahead of the final day of the test. "After the good test we had in Barcelona, this first one-and-a-half days here definitely didn't go to plan," Seidl admitted to media, including RacingNews365.com , in Bahrain on Friday. "We have, unexpectedly, an issue on the front axle with the brakes, which we have to solve. It's a race against time at the moment in order to get upgraded parts here."

McLaren still learning about their new car

Despite the brake troubles, McLaren have not written off the test, with Seidl explaining that there is still plenty the team can learn about their 2022 challenger. "We've still made steps with modifications we could do here at the track [over] the last one and a half days," added Seidl. "This allowed us to work on the car, and work on the understanding of the car as well, putting some small upgrades on the car in order to extract more performance from the package. "I'm still optimistic that, despite the running time we lost, or the limited laps we could do, in the end, we [will] leave the track here on Saturday well prepared for the race weekend."

Ricciardo set to drive for McLaren on Saturday

Norris has been at the wheel for McLaren on both days of testing so far, with Daniel Ricciardo taken unwell earlier in the week. McLaren confirmed on Friday that at no stage has Ricciardo tested positive for COVID-19, and Seidl noted that the Australian is starting to feel better. As it stands, Ricciardo is set to take over from Norris for the final day of running. "It's good to see that his condition is improving," Seidl said of Ricciardo's current status. "He's definitely feeling better today, so I'm quite optimistic that we'll see him back in the car tomorrow."