Marussia boss John Booth described losing 10th place in the Formula 1 constructors' championship to Caterham in the Brazilian Grand Prix as a huge emotional blow for his team.
Marussia had moved ahead of Caterham after Timo Glock finished 12th in the Singapore GP.
A thrilling Interlagos race gave both teams the chance to get their best result of the year, and Caterham's Vitaly Petrov passed Charles Pic for 12th position near the end of the race.
The result, which turned into 11th after Paul di Resta crashed out, moved Caterham back into the crucial 10th position that will mean a financial boost for the team.
Booth admitted it was a devastating moment for Marussia.
"Today is an emotional day for everyone involved with the Marussia team. Tenth place has eluded us after such a long fight and, naturally, 'disappointed' doesn't even come close," said Booth.
"We made all the right calls and our strategy worked out perfectly, but in the end we lost out due to factors beyond our control. Here's to 2013, the advantage of KERS and some very encouraging signs that things can only get better for us."
The team boss was nonetheless encouraged by the progress made by Marussia during the 2012 season.
"Much has been made of closing the gap to Caterham, but at the same time we have reduced the delta to the midfield and the front of the field," he added.
"For example, in Australia the gap between our own fastest lap and the winner's fastest lap was 4.5 per cent, whilst in the closing stages of the season we have reduced that to 2.5 per cent - again, without KERS. So if we reflect on our big picture, it is even more encouraging than may have been apparent."
Pic, who will move from Marussia to Caterham next year, believes he put on one of his strongest performances of the year.
"Although the outcome is disappointing, I think today was one of my best races for the team," he said. "Our strategy was the right one and I pushed very hard the whole race. The conditions were not easy; it was very slippery but the car was quite well-balanced and we put up the best possible fight.
"In the end, we just lost out unfortunately. My thanks to everyone in the team for a fantastic debut season in F1. We have fought so hard all year and I wish the team the very best next season."