Boss Stefano Domenicali says it was Ferrari's decision not to call Fernando Alonso in to repair a damaged car early in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The move caused the Spaniard to crash out of a race which he could well have finished on the podium.
Domenicali said: "We took a risk that didn't pay off."
He said the decision was based on the drying conditions and the hope the wing would survive long enough for them to change tyres at the same time.
"After the touch, the race was not over and I considered the situation where there was a transition from wet to dry," Domenicali said.
"In normal conditions you would come in, but in this transition, if you believe the wing can survive, you try and bide your time. You may have the chance to pit to change to the dry tyres and be the hero of the weekend.
"Unfortunately the wing didn't stay there."
He emphasised that the decision to stay out was not Alonso's.
"The decision was from the pit wall," Domenicali said.
"Obviously Fernando can feel it in the car, but he could not see the damage from his view.
"We take the responsibility as the team. The 'kiss' [on Vettel's car] was unfortunate because we could have taken good points from this race.
"Fernando's not happy to come away with zero points, but he's positive and looking forward because he knows we have something to play with."
Alonso had damaged the wing when he lightly touched the rear of leader Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull at the second corner on the opening lap.
Despite the damaged wing then hanging at an angle, Alonso hung on to second place all the way around the first lap.
He continued into a second lap, and the wing came loose on the pit straight, robbing him of control, and he went straight on into the gravel trap at Turn One.
Vettel went on to win the race and Alonso, who has narrowly lost out to the German in two of the last three world championships, is now 22 points behind the Red Bull driver after just two of the 19 races.
Alonso said on his Twitter account: "Bad luck today, as always over 19 races will be compensated and we are ready to recover good points in the next race!"
He even joked that it was a shame to miss out on a podium ceremony that was overshadowed by bitterness between the Red Bull drivers, after Vettel ignored team orders to pass team-mate Mark Webber to win the race.
"Today that I'm not in the podium I'm missing a good moment..!" Alonso wrote. "I will try not leave them alone again."