Having gambled on a radical new car for the new campaign, McLaren is now trailing its top-four rivals and even Force India, while leading driver Jenson Button is a mere tenth in the drivers' points.
But even though the sweeping rules changes for 2014 are looming large, including the switch from V8 to V6 power, boss Martin Whitmarsh said he is reluctant to call time on 2013 and move the team's focus to a fresh start for next year.
"Maybe I'm wrong," he is quoted by France's L'Equipe, "but I refuse to think about 2014.
"I want us to be competitive, I want us to return to the front and to go to every grand prix thinking that we can win."
However, even teams much closer to the top in 2013 - like back-to-back China and Bahrain pole sitter Mercedes - are already beginning to think about 2014.
Toto Wolff, the Brackley based squad's new co-owner and director, told F1's official website that resources are starting to be switched towards 2014.
"We're already working on 2014," he said, "and we'll gradually raise the percentage of people working on next year's car.
"I would say that in May we will reach a point where more than 50 per cent will work on the 2014 car."
Moreover, Wolff said Mercedes' approach to the second half of 2013 will not be unique.
"There is no doubt that at a point in the summer everybody will switch their main resources to the 2014 car, as this is a very complex and complicated machine," he explained.
"Of course it all depends on where you are in the standings. Those who are fighting for the title will of course concentrate longer on this year's car."