McLaren sporting director Sam Michael has said he expects the 2013 F1 season to be highly-competitive on the back of the three pre-season F1 tests in Spain.

A number of teams took their turn at the head of the times over the course of testing in both Jerez and Catalunya, with McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes amongst those to lead the way.

While the nature of testing has made it difficult to draw any conclusions about the season ahead, Michael insisted that a highly-competitive campaign lies ahead, although he conceded that Mercedes were looking strong having paced the final two days in Barcelona.

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"You've got nine teams within a second," he told the BBC. "That is going to make it close. It will make it extremely tight through the qualifying sessions in Melbourne.

"You can clearly see Mercedes are fast. They have been fast all the time. They look like they've got their car together. Behind that, it's really difficult to see anything else.

"When everyone is on the same tyres, you still don't know where the fuel loads are and you're not going to know that until qualifying in Melbourne and we'd be kidding ourselves if we thought we knew."

Some have questioned how close McLaren will be to the pace when the season gets underway, but Michael insisted he was sure the Woking-based squad would be in contention.

"We'll definitely be in the mix," he said. "In terms of confidence of whether we can be on the front row and win in Melbourne, I just don't know.

"I wouldn't say I was confident or unconfident. I'm neither way, just because I'm being honest. We just don't know."