McLaren have enjoyed some strong results recently, having scored in five of the last six races, but Fernando Alonso believes it will be "difficult" to continue that positive trend this weekend at Honda's home race in Japan.
The Spaniard only qualified 15th, two places ahead of team-mate Jenson Button who failed to escape Q1, as the pair struggled for straight-line speed.
Alonso is hoping for rain on Sunday, otherwise points might be out of the question.
"After some strong weekends, where we made it into Q3 and were able to fight for points, qualifying 15th and 17th is not the best place to be starting Honda’s home grand prix.
"So far, we just haven’t been able to find the speed in the car this weekend. We’ve been struggling with high-speed and straight-line performance too, so it was difficult to know which way to go in terms of downforce and balance," he explained.
"It looks like our performance is changing from circuit to circuit, and we need to analyse exactly why we seem to be underperforming here.
"Unless it rains tomorrow, it’ll be difficult for us to recover enough positions in the race in order to score points. But I’ll be attacking tomorrow – I have nothing to lose."