Jenson Button blamed "massive understeer" on his BAR-Honda after squandering second place on the grid in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
The 25-year-old, chasing a maiden Grand Prix victory for both himself and his team, slipped back to finish fifth.
Button said: "It's very frustrating. In the first stint the tyres weren't too bad but the car had massive understeer on the exit of corners.
"We have been suffering from it all year, we really need to look at that."
Button was further handicapped by a problem in his first pit-stop, when the fuel cap on his car failed to open.
But the Briton admitted that in the final analysis his BAR was not a match for the flying Finn Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren or the Renaults of second and third-placed Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso.
"The first pit stop was screwed by the cap not opening so we lost about seven seconds," said Button.
"I thought I would be very close to getting ahead of Fisichella and if you are at the front it is very hard for them to beat you. That didn't happen.
"After that first pit stop I was really angry we lost time but I realised we couldn't have won anyway - we just weren't quick enough."
Button is hoping for improvement in the season's final race in Shanghai.
"I think the car will work better in Shanghai where the corners are a little bit banked and cambered," he said. "That seems to solve the issues we have.
"We need to have a good race there and look at the reasons why those banked corners help our car."
Fellow Briton David Coulthard also expected more than a sixth-place finish after leading the Grand Prix for a time.
"From the team's point of view we have got to be satisfied as there are some strong teams out there," he said.
"I had a good battle with Jenson in turn one and our pace felt good at the start.
"It was only after the fuel stop I began to struggle. We had to put quite a lot of fuel in our car, which can upset the balance. However, as the fuel gets burnt off it improves.
"We were competitive with Williams all weekend and they finished fourth so, while we'll gratefully take the points, I was hoping for more."