Kamui Kobayashi says his qualifying form is the main area he needs to improve in for 2012, admitting he has thus far struggled to warm the tyres on his Sauber properly.
The 25-year-old currently leads team-mate Sergio Perez by 14 points in the drivers' championship heading into the Brazilian Grand Prix, but the Mexican boasts a better record in qualifying across the season.
Kobayashi says that while his ability to pick up points has been a source of pride, trailing Perez highlights the need for him to adapt better to the Pirelli rubber in order to improve his performances on Saturday.
"Whether we start 16th or last we're up to the challenge and can make the points which is good," Kobayashi said.
"I think we have had a pretty good season: we had good direction from the start and nobody expected us to do so well. But at some point I have to adapt myself better to the tyres.
"I have had a lot of problems warming up the tyre, so [qualifying] is where we look for speed."
Sauber enters the weekend with a one point advantage over Toro Rosso in the constructors' championship, but Kobayashi says the team's focus will be on improving its own performance rather than worrying about its rivals.
"We're not really thinking about Toro Rosso, but more how we manage to get the best out of the car," he explained. "This is really the target for me.
"We are not a big team, and our car development is not really brilliant - we can make small steps but others have made bigger steps. It's difficult to judge."