Fernando Alonso says McLaren cannot afford to sacrifice its 2016 campaign, despite holding hopes of fighting for the championship amid regulation changes in 2017.
McLaren reunited with Honda at the start of 2015 and endured a dismal first season, but the outfit has made gains this year and currently occupies seventh in the standings.
Alonso is wary that McLaren needs to focus on its 2017 package but believes it must push ahead with this year's car in order to learn how it can improve.
"Obviously we want to be fighting for the World Championship," Alonso said ahead of this weekend's European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan's capital, Baku.
"We are not in that position this year and we are making, I think, progress and we are moving in the right direction to achieve that goal in the future but still a long way to go for us.
"Definitely we need to think on next year’s car, next year’s project and put some focus on there and try to be more competitive next year.
"At the same time we cannot forget 2016 yet because we are only in June, many races to come, many good possibility to score points, to go a little bit higher on the Constructors’ Championship that will help the team also for next year.
"And some of the progress and updates we can bring this year will be quite useful for next year as well. Especially on the power unit side. That doesn’t change so much in the regulations.
"So, still working on both projects and still very motivated to score many points this year and to do a good season."