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Why McLaren are encouraged despite their Bahrain horror show

Despite a poor weekend for his team in Bahrain, McLaren team boss Andrea Stella is keen to accentuate the positive.

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella says theteam ended the Bahrain Grand Prix on a more optimistic note than expected – despitethe Woking squad's poor performance and reliability at Sakhir. Oscar Piastri was the season's first retirementon Lap 16, pulling off with an electrical issue, while Lando Norris was thelast classified runner in 17th place, after having to pit severaltimes during the race to manage an issue with his MCL60's engine pneumatics. But despite a seemingly troubled start to 2023,Stella insisted there were positives to be drawn from the Bahrain Grand Prix,adding that both Piastri and Norris had had the potential to score points. "I think the most positive element is, withoutissues, Lando would have been a strong contender for points. The pace of thecar in the race was almost beyond expectation," Stella told media, including RacingNews365.com . "I think inthe race we also saw some reward of the work we did over the winter in tryingto improve the interaction between the car and the tyres. "This was certainly a strong position onLando's side, but also Oscar actually was having good degradation in the firststint; he overtook cars. "It was avery tight race, so we could have been in the points with two cars – that's themost positive outcome of this event. "The race was more encouraging than I wouldhave expected. Before coming here, I thought Q3 was difficult, and points wouldhave been difficult, but they were up for grasp more than I thought. "The otherelement though we have to acknowledge is the midfield, not only the midfield,but even racing close – apart from Red Bull – close to Aston, Mercedes and evenFerrari. "So I think if we race well, and can improvethe car by a few tenths like we plan to do, we can have some enjoyable racessoon hopefully."

McLaren upgrades imminent

Stella added that McLaren had several upgrades to the MCL60 planned for the upcoming races, with a major new package to be delivered in time for the fourth race of the season in Azerbaijan. "There's some minor upgrades that will come already in Saudi and Australia, so little things already for the next couple of races. "They're not necessarily very noticeable, but should add some performance here and there, and then there will be the first of the major upgrades in Baku."

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