Mattia Binotto says Ferrari will have to revisit "the entire car project" but ruled out a sacking spree following a poor start to the Formula One season.
The Scuderia have picked up just 27 points from three races so far in 2020, not aided by both drivers failing to finish at the Styrian Grand Prix following a crash.
Sebastian Vettel finished a season-best sixth at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, while team-mate Charles Leclerc was back in 11th place.
Both Ferrari cars were a lap down on winner Lewis Hamilton as upgrades made in Austria last time out failed to have the desired impact.
Ferrari team principal Binotto is ready to go back to the drawing board but warned there is no quick fix.
"After three races, it's clear that we are in worse shape than we expected and we need to react without delay," Binotto is quoted as saying on the official F1 website.
"The entire car project has to be revised, while taking into consideration the limits currently imposed by the regulations.
"I am well aware there is no magic wand in Formula One, but we have to step up a gear to turn things around, both in the short and the long term.
"It might also be necessary to look at our organisation to improve and strengthen our working methods where the need is greatest. But first, as a team, we need to understand the dynamic that led to this situation."
He added: "It will take a long time [for Ferrari to be a major force]. I think patience will be required. The updates we brought in Austria proved correlation, and at the moment, at least we have addressed that, but the deficit in terms of performance is still there.
"We are lacking speed on the straights, lacking speed on cornering. Overall, the car has to be improved in all the areas. It's as simple as that.
"It's not something that a simple trick will address it, or a simple solution or package. It will take time. How long? I don't have the answer yet."
Binotto insisted Ferrari's shortcomings will not lead to mass changes in personnel, despite media speculation to the contrary.
"I have confidence in the people who work in the Gestione Sportiva," he said. “We have started out on a long process that should lead to another winning cycle.
"It will take a while, but the whole company understands and supports this vision. That's why I find it amusing to read some stories that are doing the rounds: it's not by sacking people that you make a car go faster…"