Felipe Massa is hoping Ferrari can have its KERS back in its car by the next race in Bahrain, after the team decided not to use it in China.
The Italian squad, which is yet to score a point after two races, used the device in Australia and Malaysia, but has decided to run without it in Shanghai in order to minimise the risk of problems.
Massa, who qualified down in 13th place for tomorrow's race, reckons KERS would have made a big difference for his team today.
"Yeah, definitely," he said. "In qualifying (it would have been) half a second. In qualifying it's a big difference, also in the start, but unfortunately we don't have it.
"It's a step back, so I hope we can have the KERS back in the next race. Bahrain is a very important track for KERS, so I hope we can be more competitive."
The Brazilian, who also failed to qualify in the top ten in Malaysia, says a driving error cost him the chance to go into Q3.
"I didn't have any problems on the mechanical side or the strategy side, I just made a mistake," said Massa. "To be honest, if you look at what Kimi did, qualifying was better than expected. We expected it to be very difficult to get into Q3.
"He did it and I think I would have done as well if I hadn't made a mistake, so I think it was a little bit more positive than we expected.
"I think we are going to improve the car maybe every race from now on. Maybe after two, three, four or five races we are going to be in a different condition."
Massa also conceded the start of the season had been much more challenging than expected.
"A lot more difficult. We are having a hard time so I hope very soon we can improve the situation to at least be in the condition to fight for a good position."