Fernando Alonso says he knows which areas Ferrari needs to improve its 2014 Formula 1 car in order to close the gap to the frontrunners.
Alonso finished a distant fourth in last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix and later labeled his race a "nightmare" as he struggled for grip.
The double world champion identified driveability off the corners and engine performance as two key areas Ferrari needs to work on to catch Red Bull and Mercedes.
"Traction was not good enough," said Alonso of his car's performance in Malaysia. "Out of the corners we were losing ground.
"We compare our traction with probably the best traction car out there, which is the Red Bull, so maybe it was more or less expected this deficit.
"With the top speed it's not secret we are not comparable with the Mercedes.
"They've been fastest in Australia, fastest in the [Bahrain] test, fastest here. I think we have some work to do.
"Obviously for Bahrain, there is not much to do because in a few days we are in the car again, but for China and Spain I think it's very clear what we need to bring to the car and we will do."
Alonso has spent the first two races of the season fighting with Nico Hulkenberg's Force India, rather than battling at the front, but the Spaniard still feels Ferrari has the potential to lift itself to the level he expects in order to fight for the championship.
"Obviously it's not the ideal position to start the championship, [but] the team is doing a massive effort to catch up and improve the situation," Alonso added.
"Personally I would like to fight for victories, but as long as you are in front of your team-mate normally you are doing something extra that the people expect.
"We will improve, that's for sure. We've only done two races. We are analysing deeply the areas we need to.
"They seem clear to us and we will put a lot of effort to improve the car and run as soon as possible at the level of Mercedes and Red Bull. The hope is still perfectly there."