Antonio Felix da Costa has conceded that his Formula Renault 3.5 title hopes are over following a disastrous weekend in Austria.
The Red Bull junior was plagued by problems last weekend, with his first engine losing oil and overheating in race one and a second unit seeming down on power and repeatedly cutting out - which left him stranded on the grid at the start of race two.
Those problems caused him to slump to fifth in the standings, 68 points adrift of championship leader Kevin Magnussen with three race weekends (and 150 points) remaining.
"The championship is Kevin's now, he just has to not make any mistakes," da Costa told AUTOSPORT.
"I don't want to think about the championship, and I don't have to anymore.
"I just want to win some races like we did last year and prove that I deserve an F1 opportunity if one comes."
While da Costa claimed that the spare engine Renault Sport provided was lacking performance, series technical chiefs told AUTOSPORT that the unit had shown no signs of a lack of performance during dyno testing.
However, it is understood that da Costa and Arden Caterham will get a new engine before the next round at the Hungaroring in September.
"The [spare] engine was just flat," said da Costa. "There was nothing I could do with it, and it kept cutting out on me.
"We have to change something for the next race, otherwise it is better for me to stay away."
BACKING FROM VERGNE
Toro Rosso racer Jean-Eric Vergne, who da Costa could find himself paired with if he earns a promotion to F1 for next season, believes that the 21-year-old is good enough to race at the pinnacle of the sport regardless of his championship position this year.
"Antonio is a really really good driver and could definitely have his place in F1," said Vergne.
"There is a lot of pressure, and the pressure of probably getting an F1 seat at the end of the year makes life a lot more difficult.
"That's what he is facing right now, but I believe he can put his head up and do a good end to the season. Hopefully he gets his chance next year."