SAO PAULO (AP) — Ferrari says it is making good progress on its 2015 car as it seeks to put behind it another disappointing season and return to the ranks of Formula One championship contenders next season.

With a winless season nearing its end, Ferrari is already looking for ways to close the gap to Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams next year.

"We've set ourselves some strong challenging development targets," Ferrari engineering director Pat Fry said ahead of Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix. "There's obviously a huge gap we need to catch up. Have we reached our target? No, far from it, but I guess there's four and a half months to go still."

The Italian team looks likely to record its first season since 1993 without a grand prix victory, as it is well off the pace of the leaders with only two races to go: Brazil on Sunday, and then Abu Dhabi.

"There's a huge amount of catching up we need to do, but at least there's the drive to improve the technical process, invest where we need to. It's a long-term process but the right path is there to get us back to the top," Fry said. "Some of the changes that have been emplaced are already paying huge dividends in the way we're developing next year's car."

Ferrari is only fourth in the constructors' championship and neither the unsettled Fernando Alonso nor Kimi Raikkonen is in the top 5 in the drivers' championship. Alonso, who is widely believed to be on his way out of the team at season's end, is sixth and Kimi Raikkonen is 12th.

Alonso won two world titles with Renault and made the lucrative switch to Ferrari in the expectation of many more, but is likely to leave Maranello without having claimed the top prize.

Ferrari is understood to have struck a deal with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to replace Alonso. Vettel, who has always made public his desire to drive for Ferrari at some point in his career, has already announced he is leaving Red Bull after the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP on Nov. 23.

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