McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh insists the team will put up a strong fight until the end of the season despite lagging so far behind Red Bull in the standings.
Jenson Button is McLaren's closest challenger in the Drivers' Championship, but he is 110 points behind pacesetter Sebastian Vettel while in the Constructors' standings Red Bull enjoy a 131-point lead following Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.
Like most other teams McLaren have already started working on their 2012 challenger, but Whitmarsh says that doesn't mean they won't push Red Bull all the way during the remaining seven races of this season.
"We are working on next year's car, but probably a weakness of McLaren, and my own personal weakness, is that I don't like not winning, so I cannot help myself," he said.
"I am always going to ask the guys, 'how are we making the car quicker next week?' And we have to keep pushing for the time being. There are some races we can win and that has to be the goal at the moment.
"The Championship looks pretty ambitious but at the moment we have to be positive, and the fans expect it. If Ferrari and McLaren say we are going to free-wheel now, I don't think that is the right message. I think the fans deserve a stronger battle than that."
He added: "Interestingly here this week, we had six performance modifications on the car. One of those came out of the development programme for next year's car, so you always are going to try and steal things from next year's car.
"There is not a line you draw and say, this is purely this year, on the other side of the line, that is purely next year. You are learning and gaining this year, and that helps for next year. And occasionally you learn things from next year's development programme that you can use this year."
McLaren were the form team heading to Spa after winning the three of the four races before the summer break, but Button could only manage a P3 while Lewis Hamilton crashed out.
Whitmarsh hopes they can find more pace at the Italian Grand Prix in a fortnight.
"I want the car to be quicker at the next race, and the race after that and we will keep pushing for the time being.
"From a championship perspective it is disappointing. But it is what it is, and we will keep working. There are still some more races to go. We will try and make our car quicker and see if we can win them."