Alfa Romeo Racing boss Frédéric Vasseur isn't overly worried by his team's recent lack of results on Sunday given the relative performance of its C38 in qualifying.
Alfa Romeo only has two top-ten finishes on its books since the end F1's summer break, with both results courtesy of Antonio Giovinazzi.
The young Italian just missed the Q3 cut in Japan, but neither Giovinazzi or teammate Kimi Raikkonen - who hasn't finished in the points since Hungary - finished in the top ten at Suzuka, with both drivers hampered by their car's pace on Sunday.
"I don't think we need to be a lot faster to be in the fight," Raikkonen said.
"We had a new package a few races ago, we need to understand if that's the reason or if it's something else.
"It's only a few races ago that we brought the big package. It's not like we don't do anything because in the end, they help us for next year."
Vasseur highlighted the C38's speed over one lap, but insisted that small margins led to big consequences on race day.
"There’s no need to panic, each time it's a different scenario," he told Motorsport.com.
"I would be very worried if we were one second off in quali, but it’s not the story. The race might be difficult to manage, but it’s more easy to find the pace in the race than in quali.
"In Spa for example we were P5 in Turn 1, in Monza we were in Q3. Sometimes for one tenth, plus or minus, you can have the feeling that the situation is completely different. We always have to be very careful with this.
“We’ve moved from seventh or eighth [-best team] in quali, but this is one tenth. Perhaps we could do a better job by one tenth.
"In Suzuka the quali pace was OK, we were in the middle of the pack, in front of the Renaults, in front of the Racing Points.
"Antonio was two hundredths from Q3, or something like this. Sometimes you are two-hundredths in front, and you are the star."
Vasseur also pointed to tyres as another factor that has impeded Alfa's quest for consistency.
“It’s difficult to know what’s wrong. We are struggling to be consistent over the race, and I think that was the issue over the last two or three events.
"I think it’s more about consistency over the stint with different compounds than on the pure pace.
"Sometimes you are in the right window, sometimes not, depending on the track layout or the track temp or so on."