McLaren must use the momentum of its strong end to the season to prevent another world championship slipping through its grasp next year, according to team boss Martin Whitmarsh.
Jenson Button claimed McLaren's seventh victory of the 2012 Formula 1 season in the Brazilian Grand Prix, giving it the same victory tally for the season as Red Bull, which took both the drivers' and constructors' titles.
Looking towards next year, Whitmarsh said that McLaren was buoyed by its victories in the last two races of the season, and it was now up to the outfit to do all it could over the winter to ensure its 2013 car was just as strong.
"We've had a good competitive car for the last part of this season," he said. "That means we just have to do that for the beginning of next year.
"We've had a quick car for a lot of this year, but we have to make sure we're really taking the points when they are there to be taken.
"Many have slipped through our fingers this year, which is frustrating, but we've had seven great victories.
"Many teams would be delighted with that. But we're not delighted with it.
"Nonetheless, we've a good foundation for next year with relative stability in rules, so we ought to be able to come out with a decent package."
McLaren could have moved ahead of Ferrari for second in the constructors' championship if it had finished first and second in Brazil.
But its hopes of doing that were wrecked by a collision between Nico Hulkenberg and Lewis Hamilton.
Speaking about the incident, Whitmarsh said: "That's what happens in motor racing.
"It was an incredibly exciting race for everyone, great for the championship and great for the fans.
"Jenson did it all right; Lewis did it all right until becoming a victim of Nico.
"It was a racing incident. I accept that, but it was a tough one for the team and a tough one, in particular, for Lewis. It wasn't how we wanted it to end."