Felipe Massa says Ferrari will avoid the complacency that left him in the midfield in the Malaysian Grand Prix and will start operating differently from this weekend's Shanghai event.
The Brazilian was only 16th on the grid at Sepang after Ferrari believed he would not need a second run in Q1, only for other drivers to improve and push him out of the Q2 qualification spots.
Massa said that proved Ferrari was in a totally different situation to 2008 and had to work accordingly.
"We learned first of all, in my case, that we don't have the same car as last year," he said.
"We cannot go into Q1 and think we are going to be easily into Q2. We need to fight hard in Q1 to get into Q2, and we need to fight even harder in Q2 to be in Q3.
"To fight hard, you need to use all your possibilities – which means more sets of tires. That was one mistake, but we will not repeat that mistake. Maybe we will not pass through to Q2, but it will be for that reason – not because we did not try another set of tires.
"We are working hard to improve every area and not to have any problems any more."
Ferrari has decided not to use its KERS in China after reliability problems during the previous two races. Massa had mixed feelings about the loss of the system, admitting that it was far from perfect, but suggesting that Ferrari will lose pace without it.
"The balance for sure was not easy, but the KERS was even worse for our car because we lose performance," he said.
"That is pretty hard because we got small modifications here, we improve a little bit the car, but then we lose a lot from the KERS. So we make a step backwards without the KERS."
He conceded that his expectations for the rest of the weekend were low.
"Well I don't think we can expect a lot," Massa said. "We did not have a great day today so the expectation for sure is not very high. But I am a professional, so I will do my best to have a good result tomorrow and the best results possible."
He also added his voice to the criticism of this weekend's tire choice, with many drivers expecting Bridgestone's super softs to struggle badly in the race.
"The super soft was OK for 10 laps, but then you lose completely the grip," said Massa. "The hard tires were difficult for warming up, but you also had big degradation. The race will not be so easy."