While admitting that there are issues, Lando Norris insists that there is no sense of crisis at McLaren.
Though the failures of Mercedes and Ferrari dominated the headlines, McLaren hardly came away from Bahrain smelling of roses, despite the best attempts of Andrea Stella who essentially insisted that if everything hadn't gone wrong we could have been contenders.
Though effectively forewarned by both Stella ans Zak Brown that the team would be starting the season on the back foot, nothing prepared fans of the Woking squad for the disaster that was Bahrain, where Oscar Piastri retired after 13 laps and Lando Norris finished two laps down on the race winner.
Asked if it is too soon to say the team is facing a crisis, Norris is adamant.
"No, it's far from that," he said. "Oscar's problem, it was an issue that we've had the first time we've seen in years and years and years, so confident that's fixed and from my issue, Mercedes are sure that they fixed that and it was, again, something which hasn't happened for years and years.
"So both quite rare issues. And both things that we're confident, both from HPP side and from McLaren side that are fixed.
"I don't know," he continued, "everyone makes it sound a lot worse than it is. And calling it crisis is far from that at all and it's nothing close to it.
"So, no, we're confident we can get some good points, I would say, this weekend. I think it's a close fight for... with Valtteri, with Alfa and a lot of those teams.
"Towards the top four teams, it's a very big jump," he admitted. "But I'm confident we can be in that fight. I don't think we're that far away.
"It was made very clear and very early on that we're far from where we want to be. And for McLaren's expectations and who we are as a team, we're far from where we want to be. But we have a very clear plan. I think it's very clear from everyone back in MTC and here what we need to achieve and want to achieve. It's just going about setting it and achieving it, which is our next call."
Asked where he wants to be this season, in terms of in the order, he replied: "Where did I want to be? It's clear, where we all want to be is clear: we want to be towards the top. I think that's everyone's dream, it's every team's dream in the whole grid but when you're realistic, it's between where we are now and those top four teams currently.
"I think what Aston have done is this clear example and what Ferrari did between '21 and '22 was a clear example of what we need to achieve and want to achieve. And it's clear that it's achievable. So we just got to go out and do it.
"We have the people, we have so many things that we need. We're not doing a good enough job with what we have but we all know that and we know that we have some more things coming but at the same time, we have to do better than what we're doing currently.
"It's not like we need to change philosophy or change car or anything like that," he smiled. "A lot of what we have already is working well, as Andrea has mentioned, what we have in the wind tunnel and what we have on track is correlating well at the same time and we have obviously a lot of new things coming.
"A lot of it in Formula 1 is time. You're always against it but at the same time you always need it and sometimes you just have to be patient still. So that's what we're doing.
"Everyone's working very hard from that side of things. There's nothing that they're doing that I would say that we're not in terms of going out to achieve what we want to achieve. So we'll stick to our plan and that's good enough for me."
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