McLaren are likely to endure a tough start to the season after a pessimistic verdict from the new team boss Andrea Stella.
The new McLaren MCL60 is yet to set any headline times in pre-season testing. Instead, both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri have appeared to struggle with the handling of the car.
On the morning of test day three, Piastri survived a big off-track moment as he gets to grips with Formula 1 and his new car.
Zak Brown has already delivered an unoptimistic verdict on their current performance, and has pinned hopes on mid-season updates.
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Based on their performance in the first two days of testing, Stella was asked for his predictions for the season-opener in Bahrain.
"I think we will see that the midfield is very compact," Stella cautiously told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"This means that if you don't do a good enough job, even in setting up and maximising what you have, you may struggle to get out of Q1. At the same time, you might be a Q3 contender.
"I think when I'm talking about competitiveness at the moment, I would say our objective through the season is to be a top four car.
"At the moment, I would say we are not necessarily in this range."
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