Reigning Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel says it would be "stupid" to rule himself out of this year's title race until it is mathematically impossible to retain his crown.
Vettel lies 95 points and five places adrift of championship leader Nico Rosberg after nine races in 2014, but there is still a maximum of 275 on offer across the balance of the season, including 50 for the winner of the controversial double-points finale in Abu Dhabi.
Four-time world champion Vettel says he has not been focusing on the championship during Red Bull's difficult start to the season, but will not give up on overhauling the dominant Mercedes drivers until the points gap is too great.
"If you look at points and mathematics we can still fight for the world championship, so it would be stupid to say we're out," Vettel said when asked if he conceded the championship race is over from his perspective.
"Being realistic, Mercedes is in a position where it can win every race and get a one-two, without having people bother them too much unless things are going wrong.
"Our target is to catch up and beat them sooner rather than later, but the gap is very big so therefore it's difficult to close it in a short amount of time.
"I've never really stressed at any point in the season to focus too hard on the championship, I've really gone race to race and tried to get the best out of myself and the car.
"The gap is very big, and we'll struggle to catch up in big steps, but the goal is there for the whole team to progress and do a better job."
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is 17 points and two places better off than Vettel in the title race, but the double world champion reckons the championship is a lost cause already given the pace advantage of the Mercedes.
When asked during the British Grand Prix whether he has already given up on the championship Alonso said: "Yes. I think if anyone apart from Rosberg and Hamilton tells you that they believe they can be world champion this year they will lie, and I don't like to lie."