Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz, however, wants the Milton Keynes team to keep fighting.
"Our first goal is that we become capable of winning this year," he told APA news agency.
"If we can be competitive then, as long as it is mathematically possible, we are still in the world championship fight -- definitely," the Austrian billionaire added.
Mateschitz acknowledged that a lot depends on Red Bull's beleaguered engine supplier, Renault, and other factors as well.
"A new fuel," he explained, "can bring up to 20 or 30 horse power.
"We have never had the most powerful engine, but a good package overall. Perhaps the grand prix of Austria can be a turning point," said Mateschitz, whose company is the promoter of his country's return in June to the F1 calendar.
"We have a good car," he said. "We started two seconds behind but it is looking much better now."
At the very top of his game in 2014 has been Red Bull team newcomer Daniel Ricciardo, with Mateschitz admitting the extent of the Australian's success was a "surprise".
"Sebastian Vettel has had a lot of bad luck this year," he told Salzburger Nachrichten, "but Daniel has shown no weaknesses from day one.
"This also shows that Toro Rosso is an excellent school for producing future winning drivers, and the very next contender is Daniil Kvyat," Mateschitz added.