But Jenson Button said the Woking based team, whose 'supremo' Ron Dennis once famously declared that second is just "first of the losers", is nonetheless determined to be runner-up.
Red Bull has now secured the constructors' title for this year, but McLaren is just 14 points behind Ferrari for second place, with just this weekend's Brazilian showdown left to run.
Britain's Sun newspaper said the difference between second and third is almost $10 million in Concorde Agreement prize-money.
"The constructors' title does mean a lot to me because it is a lot of money," driver Jenson Button confirmed.
"I think we can do it, but we will need the perfect weekend.
"It is also nice to get one over on Ferrari. We want to finish in front of them.
"We are a competitive team. We cannot beat Red Bull but we can beat Ferrari, which has to be our aim."