Bahrain Grand Prix organisers have apologised to McLaren fans after having to demote the Formula One leaders to the slow end of the pitlane for next Sunday's race.
The garage allocation is based on last year's positions in the constructors' standings and McLaren were stripped of all their points in 2007 due to a spying controversy over possession of Ferrari data.
However the Mercedes-powered team, with Britain's Lewis Hamilton leading the drivers' standings, were given the fifth set of garages at the first two races of the season behind champions Ferrari, BMW Sauber, Renault and Williams.
Bahrain organisers had expected McLaren to take a similar position at Sakhir but said on Sunday they had been forced to make a late change after being told by Formula One Management that would not be the case.
McLaren will now get the last set of garages, next to tail-enders Force India.
"In Bahrain we do our utmost to ensure that fans of each team get to sit opposite their favourite team's pit garages to see the action unfold," said the circuit's chief operating officer Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa in a statement.
"Sadly on this occasion, we must apologise to McLaren fans and accept that this is force majeure."
Bahrain's state-owned Mumtalakat holding company has a 30 percent stake in McLaren.