Massa finished only one point behind world champion Lewis Hamilton last season
Felipe Massa admits it will be hard for his struggling Ferrari team to fully recover from their worst start to a Formula 1 season since 1992.
Massa and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix out of the points, just as they did in the season-opener in Australia.
"Last year we had a better car, so it was easy to improve things quickly and get into the fight again," he said.
"This time we have a difficult car so it will be a bit more difficult."
Last year, the reigning constructors champions, who now sit bottom of the table, were outside the points after the first race in Melbourne - but bounced back with a win in Malaysia to kick-start their season.
For sure the car is not strong enough. We need to work on that
But ninth-placed Massa and Raikkonen, who finished 14th, never threatened the leading pack at Sepang as Brawn GP's dominance continued and Jenson Button clinched a second straight win in a race that was cut short because of torrential rain and fading light.
The Italian team even suffered the embarrassment of sending Raikkonen out on extreme wet tyres too early, a gamble which backfired badly as the Finn rapidly lost huge amounts of time on other drivers.
Massa was handicapped by starting back in 16th on the grid after another strategic decision had gone wrong in qualifying - and could not make any gains on the leading pack.
"We need to start from zero," added Massa.
"We need to get together to understand point by point what went wrong and try to improve everything. We were not great in the past and stupid now.
"For sure the car is not strong enough. We need to work on that. We made some mistakes on our strategies and we need to get together and understand what went wrong."
Ferrari are one of the teams, along with Red Bull, Renault and BMW Sauber, who are appealing to F1's decision-makers against the legality of diffusers on the cars of Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota.
All three teams have had strong starts to the season - but the four protesting teams claim their rear diffuser - a crucial part at the back of the cars - does not conform to new F1 regulations.
The case will be resolved by International Court of Appeal of motorsport's world governing body, the FIA, on 14 April in Paris.
"Everybody can see the guys who have the diffuser have a lot more downforce so it's completely difficult to fight with them," added Massa.
"If we get the championship the same for everybody for the next race, for sure it will be much more competitive.
"But if we don't, it will take quite a bit of time to get a diffuser on our car."