Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn says it will be "unacceptable" for her Formula 1 team to finish 10th in this season's constructors' championship.
The Swiss squad currently sits only above Caterham in the standings, after Esteban Gutierrez squandered its best chance to score points by crashing out of May's Monaco Grand Prix.
The team grew stronger during the second half of last season, and remains hopeful of becoming a points contender later in this campaign with the recalcitrant C33.
Sauber has scored points every season since it entered F1 in 1993, and team principal Kaltenborn said the consequences of not improving its current standing would be unthinkable.
"First of all, for morale it's a big step back, because in 22 years of Sauber in Formula 1 we've never had that position - so that's something we really don't want to think about," she told AUTOSPORT.
"Apart from that, of course, it has a financial impact. We should remain realistic but the message is that P10 is not acceptable for us.
"That [not scoring points] is still an idea I don't even want to contemplate. Our first target has to be to score points. Then, we have to see where that can take us."
Sauber believes it has suffered more because of the power deficit of Ferrari's new hybrid engine relative to the opposition, but Kaltenborn said there was no desire from her team to abandon the relationship.
"We will stick with them," Kaltenborn confirmed.
"When we were changing to the new power train we could have definitely looked at other options, which we didn't.
"Ferrari has stood by us in very difficult times, particularly when Peter [Sauber] bought the team back [from BMW after the 2009 season].
"I think these kind of partnerships in Formula 1 are worth quite a lot.
"I can assure you they are at least as disappointed as we are with this performance and are doing all they can to improve.
"We'll go through this and I'm sure we'll get out of it."