Ferrari has admitted it needs to lift its game to have a chance of retaining second place to Red Bull in the 2013 Formula 1 constructors' championship.
The Maranello outfit managed to extend its advantage over Mercedes to 10 points in the Japanese Grand Prix with four races remaining.
But team boss Stefano Domenicali doubts Ferrari can hold that position unless it unlocks more speed from its car.
"The fight from now on with Mercedes and Lotus is coming up," he said.
"It is very tight, and we need to make sure we can improve the car. And we can do it.
"We need to improve qualifying, which we know is quite difficult. As we see, everything is dictated by the position at the start and, after the first couple of laps, a lot depends on how you are able to manage the traffic.
"In Japan, when we were behind the train of [Daniel] Ricciardo with the hard tyres, it was difficult to pass, and we were lapping around three seconds slower than the quicker cars that were in front.
"If we want to keep fighting, it is important that we try to improve the car. There are some things that we can bring for the next couple of races, and we need to try to improve the qualifying.
"I know it is difficult because it is clear that Red Bull is very strong and Mercedes seems to have something more in qualifying pace, but this is the target."
Despite accepting his team needs to push on with its current car, Domenicali has ruled out taking any resources away from its 2014 project.
"No," he said. "On that we have already switched on 100 per cent of the activity at home.
"We still have something to bring on the track that we will try, but the technical office is totally dedicated to next year's project."
Form in last three races: Sing Q Sing R Kor Q Kor R Jap Q Jap R Ferrari 6th/7th 2nd/6th 5th/6th 6th/9th 5th/8th 4th/10th Mercedes 2nd/5th 4th/5th 2nd/4th 5th/7th 3rd/6th 8th/DNF Lotus 3rd/13th 3rd/DNF 3rd/9th 2nd/3rd 4th/9th 3rd/5th