Stefano Domenicali concedes Ferrari need to up their pace and put Fernando Alonso back on the top step of the podium if they hope to win this year's title.
Although the double World Champion holds a 29-point advantage in the Drivers' standings, the Spaniard has lost ground to his rivals in recent races.
Alonso's last race victory came back in Germany - four races ago - and one could argue that he has only maintained a lead because those who have been winning, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, have also been retiring.
Domenicali, though, admits that situation cannot continue as it is and that Alonso needs at least one more race victory to give him even a shot at winning this year's World title.
"The plan is to try to push as much as we can, try to bring new developments every race. But it's not easy," said the Ferrari team boss.
"So the guarantees [are the] effort of the teams to work very hard, more than that are just pure words and that doesn't help the situation.
"So I think the situation for the Championship is very clear: if you're not able to improve the car than it's more difficult to be able to fight for the Championship because we cannot reply on the problems of the others.
"That's a fact, but that doesn't mean we are not pushing very hard as possible, but it is a consideration.
"We can't rely on only being third, fourth or whatever it is. We need to make sure we at least win a race then we will see what will be the situation with the others."
That race win doesn't appear as if it will come this weekend in Japan after Ferrari failed to match the leading Red Bulls and McLarens in Friday's practice.
Domenicali, though, downplayed the deficit.
"As always on Friday it's very difficult to have a clear picture because you never know what the others are doing. For sure we know what we did.
"It is a little bit too premature to say after today we will struggle this weekend. For sure we have seen as normal we have competitors that are very strong, but this is nothing new.
"This is the picture just one hour after the end of free practice two so we have to analyse what the others are doing. So I don't want to say anything different tomorrow, so I'm a little bit cautious."