Ferrari has conceded that it now only has the third-quickest car in Formula 1, after failing to build on the momentum it had gained in the middle of the season.
Fernando Alonso's victory at the British Grand Prix in July lifted hopes that a strong second half of the campaign could lift him in to title contention, but the team has failed to make the steps forward with the car that it had hoped.
After a troubled Singapore Grand Prix, where the team was unable to match Red Bull or McLaren and also suffered high tire degradation, the team is bracing itself for a tough end to the campaign.
"You have to say that at the moment we have got the third-best car," Technical director Pat Fry said. "We are working hard to try and understand it, and there are a few details that we are going to have to tidy up and improve for Japan and then we have some other bits that are turning up for Korea.
"We are keeping up the learning process, and there are still new bits coming through, but at the moment we have the third-quickest car."
Ferrari has made good aerodynamic gains with its car this year, and its success at Silverstone should give it some hope of a decent finish at the similarly high-speed Suzuka circuit. However, Fry is more cautious and thinks not too much should be read into what happened at the British GP, because that race was influenced by the weather.
"I think Silverstone was interesting," he added. "I still think if we had to put the harder tire on at Silverstone we would have struggled, but the wets and starting on inters helped us out there.
"I think Suzuka will be a struggle for us again, but it is similar conditions to Silverstone. Sometimes it is normally quite cool there, so one tire we will get working well and the other we need to understand how to get the speed out of the medium."
Fry also said that the high tire degradation Ferrari suffered in Singapore was not unexpected, even though the team has been relatively good on its rubber so far this year.
"I think that was down to the nature of the different tracks," he said. "If you go to a circuit with long, high-speed corners where you load the tires very hard, our car is quite easy on the tires and we don't blister the tires or create the temperature inside the tire to make it blister.
"In Singapore, the tire issues are not blistering or anything like that; the bulk temperature of the tire is quite cold. But the surface temperature is very high, so the nature of this track does not suit us, whereas you have seen us look better in the past."