Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali says his squad must keep believing that it can turn the title battle around, despite Fernando Alonso suggesting that Sebastian Vettel is getting out of reach in the championship race after pulling 74 points clear of the Spaniard with victory in Monaco.
Vettel has only been beaten once in 2011, while Alonso's second place in Monte Carlo was only his second podium of the year, leaving the double champion pessimistic.
"We need to win three races and he mustn't score. I think that's more or less the calculation which I can do now," said Alonso. "I think at the moment it's not possible, because to close the gap with plenty of races to go [could be possible], but if you are one second behind in every qualifying and you have to do some strange strategies, some starts or something always out of the normal race, it's difficult.
"So at the moment, we will try to improve the car, race by race, in order to take the maximum every weekend. Victory for us is maybe optimistic so we need to be realistic and start fighting for podiums in Canada and Valencia and then we will see how the championship develops, because the distance now is too much."
Domenicali, though, thinks it would only take a few results in Ferrari's favor to bring Alonso back into the title hunt.
"It is a big gap, no doubt, but you know how quickly you turn around things," said Domenicali. "It is not easy no doubt, but if we have a good result in the next couple of races then something may also happen to them, so if you stay concentrated and you put a little bit of pressure on, then we will see.
"No doubt they are strong. Our objective is to keep believing in it, try to stay there and the main thing we have to do is have a good result in the short term and bring a good package of upgrades with the car if possible."
He said Ferrari's form when it got to a more traditional circuit like Silverstone would be a key indicator.
"When we arrive at track conditions like Silverstone, we really need to have a car that has better downforce in this kind of situation – Silverstone, Hungary, these kinds of tracks," Domenicali admitted.
Ferrari was extremely uncompetitive on Pirelli's hard tire in Spain, but showed better form with the super-softs and softs used in Monaco.
Asked if the team's form was "dependent" on tires, Domenicali replied: "I think that is a fact. I don't want to say something different. It is a fact that the performance this year, it is unfortunate to say that apart from Red Bull, you can put on the hard/soft/medium/"stone" [tires] whatever it is they are there, like Sebastian here [at Monaco], for sure our car is very sensitive to that condition but if you look also at the other teams it seems that this effect is also important on the other teams.
"It is important in Canada that we will have the same compounds in order to maximize the performance of our car."