Fernando Alonso would gladly sacrifice his position in the drivers' standings if it meant he and McLaren could challenge for the title in 2017.
Two-time world champion Alonso suffered a terrifying crash in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix before sitting out the race in Bahrain.
Alonso has since finished in the top 10 twice and sits level with Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz on 18 points, enough for 12th position in the championship.
Toro Rosso driver Sainz said he hoped to be the highest-ranked Spaniard come the end of the season, and Alonso suggested he would welcome that outcome if he could return to the top next year.
"I would be happy if Carlos is ahead this year and I will be able to fight for the championship next year," he said.
"It is not a particular pleasure to be ninth or 10th but definitely I will be ahead of Carlos - I missed two races and we are equal [in points]," he added, smiling.
However, Alonso acknowledged writing off this season would have consequences for next year, so he remains motivated ahead of the European Grand Prix in Baku this weekend.
"We want to be fighting for the world championship and we are not in that position this year," he said.
"We are making progress and moving in the right direction to achieve that goal, but there's still a long way to go.
"We definitely need to think on next year's car and be more competitive, but at the same time we cannot forget 2016 yet because we are only in June, with many races to come and opportunities to score points and go higher in the constructors.
"And some of the updates we can bring will help next year. I am still very motivated to score many points this year and have a good season."