Sebastian Vettel says it will "take a while" before Ferrari are up to the same level at Mercedes.
This season the Scuderia have been arguably the most improved team on the grid.
While last year they were labouring just to reach the podium, a feat they only achieved on two occasions, this year they are fighting for race wins.
Already Vettel has claimed one, Malaysia, to go with his other two top-three results while Kimi Raikkonen also has a podium finish to his name.
It will take time, though, before Ferrari enter the Championship battle as first they have to match Mercedes' level.
"We are trying to challenge Mercedes, and we must be right behind them and pounce if something goes wrong with them," Vettel told German news agency dpa.
"But it is also important that we are not passed by other teams.
"Mercedes still has the strongest package. You don't make up such a deficit quickly.
"Ferrari has taken a step forward in winter but it will take a while to be on the same level as Mercedes."