Ferrari has been urged by its team principal Stefano Domenicali to react quickly to improve its car so it can start qualifying better.
Although the team's pace in this year's races has been encouraging, with the Maranello team's car appearing to be easy on its tires, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have struggled to extract good single-lap speed from it. Ferrari is pushing hard with updates that are planned for the next few races, while a major focus is also being made on why recent development parts have not delivered the performance to the car that its wind-tunnel figures predicted.
While Domenicali has called for a calm response to the situation from his team, he says he expects some swift solutions to the situation Ferrari finds itself in.
"It is clear that we need to have a better car, because if we want to match the qualifying pace of the other competitors that is what we need," said Domenicali after seeing Alonso fight for a podium position in Malaysia. "The team has to be strong on that and united. Fernando is a clear element of reference, together with Felipe, there is no doubt about it. But this is what we have to do. For sure, we need to react quickly, even if it is a long season.
"From Saturday to Sunday, if you look at the race situation, they were two different worlds so we need to keep on working."
Domenicali believes that tire management may explain why his cars are better in the races than they are in qualifying.
"We know that for sure our race pace is much better than qualifying," he said. "I think that the most important element is to understand the usage of tires in the race, because we have seen it very clearly that there are differences between drivers who are driving the same car, so this has an important effect.
"One element where we have to have a big step is to create better downforce on our car. That is the key of our performance because, if we do that, we can start much farther in front on the grid. We could see at the start that both our guys were behind Mark [Webber], who did not make a fantastic start. Then you are in the traffic at the first corner and it is always then a race where you have to climb up, rather than go down.
"So, it is clear that the main thing we have to focus on is how to work better in qualifying because the gap we saw on Saturday was too big. But if you take the comparison, and we need to take out for a while [Sebastian] Vettel at this moment, with Webber and the McLaren, I think we were there, we were fighting for a podium position in a crystal clear way. So there are a lot of things to understand and a lot depends really on the downforce of the car, and the understanding of how to use the best of the tires, because that is an element that can be very important."