Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says he will demand answers if the team's new car is uncompetitive in the first race of the season.
Ferrari have had a troubled pre-season with a radical car they have admitted they do not yet fully understand.
Di Montezemolo said: "I hope that the predictions about us are wrong.
"And if they are true I will want to know why this has happened and how much time it's going to take to put it right."
Ferrari said they had taken an "aggressive" approach to designing the new car in an attempt to start the season in a position to win races after taking only one victory in 2011.
But the approach appears to have backfired, with a car that is sometimes unpredictable to drive and appears to lose performance after just a handful of laps.
Lead driver Fernando Alonso has said the team will "suffer" at the start of the season because of their problems.
And technical director Pat Fry said he did not expect the team to be able to finish on the podium at the first race in Melbourne, Australia, on 18 March.
Di Montezemolo added: "I spoke to Alonso and he said that there are many positive features on the car, but it will take time to unlock their potential.
"It's a car still to be discovered and only in Melbourne will we know where we are."
Ferrari dismissed reports that they are making modifications to the new car's chassis that are potentially significant enough to require a new crash test.