Ferrari has no expectation of catching Mercedes in the short term. File photo: Paul Crock.

Berlin - Ferrari says it’s not targeting runaway Formula One leader Mercedes, but wants to establish itself as the second-best team in the short term.

The Italian team, which this week replaced team principal Stefano Domenicali with Marco Mattiacci, wants to bounce back at this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix from a disappointing showing in the last race, in Bahrain.

“We are naturally working as hard as we can on closing the gap to the top teams, with Mercedes having a reasonable lead over the rest of the field,” Ferrari's engineering director Pat Fry said on the team's website on Tuesday.

“Currently, our first priority is to establish ourselves as the second best team. We are looking at all areas of the car - power unit, aero, suspension. We are trying to make as big a step as we can for each and every race.”

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen claimed ninth and 10th places respectively in Bahrain, while the season's first three races have been won by either Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg for Mercedes.