Kimi Raikkonen insists Ferrari needs time to get a better understanding of their latest updates introduced in Malaysia.
The Italian outfit carried out a route change on the 2016 development, keeping it up instead of entirely focusing on 2017.
Sepang saw the introduction of a new aero package to optimise car performance, which consisted of modified complex turning vanes, an under-nose bat wing and vertical vanes mounted atop the T-tray splitter.
A number of those upgrades are still yet to be tested, and that will happen of Friday in Suzuka.
"We keep trying things and try to learn," he said. "Sometimes we used them and sometimes we didn't. We try them again next week.
"We didn't have the most straightforward weekend so we need data and experience with it” Raikkonen admitted.
"It's a never ending process to make things improve here and there and yes, we improved but we know we have to improve more to be where we want to be.
"It's normal: we bring new parts and you may use them, you may not. The car behaviour is not too bad but we lack overall lap time," he said.
Ferrari has now racked up a 46-point-deficit to Red Bull, dropping to 3rd in the Constructors’ championship. What the Maranello-based squad needs is raw speed, which is lacking at the moment. However, the pursuit of improvement is seamless.
"We try to improve on all areas all the time. We're not as quick in qualifying but in race conditions, we're usually stronger” Raikkonen assured.
"Handling-wise it feels pretty good, we just need to go faster”. In qualifying there's not a place that has a big issue, we just need to go faster around the lap”.
"The aim is to improve in all areas and it's not easy to find those or everybody would go faster. It's an ongoing process.
"We're improving but everybody is doing the same so we keep fighting every race and obviously once the season over we think about next year,'' he added.
At the moment the path towards catching up looks uphill, but luck is likely to play in Ferrari’s favour to balance the recently set negative trend
by Beatrice Zamuner