Fernando Alonso thinks it is "a miracle" he is still even mathematically in the hunt for the 2013 title.
Red Bull's dominant Sebastian Vettel will win the title this weekend in Japan, if Alonso - 77 points behind in his Ferrari with five races to go - finishes lower than eighth at Suzuka.
Christian Horner thinks championship celebrations in Japan are unlikely.
"When was the last time Fernando Alonso finished ninth?" the Red Bull team boss is quoted by Spain's EFE news agency.
Whether Vettel closes Alonso's mathematical possibility in Japan, or India two weeks later, is regarded by most F1 insiders as a moot point.
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