Button eyes big finish
Jenson Button remains hopeful McLaren can end their worst season for 33 years on a high before throwing himself into next year's car.
Not since 1980 have McLaren gone through an entire campaign without scoring a podium, but such an ignominious feat beckons this weekend as the curtain falls on this year's Formula One year.
Fifth is the highest position either Button or team-mate Sergio Perez has achieved so far this season, yet the 33-year-old Briton still has belief a top-three finish is possible in Brazil on Sunday.
"If everything goes to plan we can get a very good result, and we should still hope for a podium," Button told Press Association Sport.
"I don't think we're far off the pace of any car apart from Red Bull, and maybe the Lotus of (Romain) Grosjean is a bit too far ahead.
"But with everyone else, if you have a good weekend then you can challenge, so we'll see.
"If we don't get a podium then it's not going to change the way we go about our car next year, but it would just be a nice way to end the season.
"A good result, with both cars in the points, close to a podium would be good, but we have to aim for a podium."
Button does not mind conceding to being relieved the season is coming to a close, in particular after further issues materialised over the course of the recent United States Grand Prix weekend.
"I'm annoyed because I feel the car performance has been there on Fridays and Saturday mornings (through practice)," added Button.
"I hoped to be fighting it out for fourth or fifth (in qualifying) in Austin and I ended up 13th, so really weird. I've got to work out why that is because it was the same in Abu Dhabi.
"The pace is definitely there, I just can't extract it in qualifying which is strange."
For Button and McLaren, it is just one more problem to add to the pot when it comes to the troublesome car they have had to deal with all year.
He said: "After the race in Brazil I fly straight to the UK to start work on next year's car.
"That's the exciting part this year, and it will bring closure, so I'm looking forward to that.
"I've already driven the car in the simulator and it's very different.
"It's going to be a long winter for all of us to get to grips with how the car is going to be, where it is now and where it's going to be at the first race.
"My experience will definitely help me, and having such a close team will also really help."