Fernando Alonso believes Aston Martin must be "honest" with itself following its recent slump in performance.
The Silverstone-based team started the F1 season as Red Bull's closest challenger, with Alonso scoring podiums in six of the first eight races.
But he could only manage seventh and ninth in the British and Hungarian Grands Prix, with McLaren taking a big step forward to contend for podiums.
Alonso had suggested that the drop-off in performance was to do with the new construction of Pirelli tyre that was introduced at Silverstone, but this was denied by team boss Mike Krack.
Instead, Alonso feels the team simply need to do a better job with its AMR23 package.
"Obviously we dropped performance in the last few events, but we were four-tenths from pole position last weekend [in Hungary] which is a mind-blowing performance after the 2022 campaign, but if we are honest with ourselves, we need to improve.
"We are not hiding that we lost performance in the last few events and we are working on that and those difficulties will make the team stronger.
"If we have an easy season, we will not be preparing for 2024, so these difficult weekends and understanding the car and the main opponents will make the team stronger for the future.
"So it is not that I am happy to be slow, but it is necessary sometimes in the season to have some difficult weekends."
Viewed by others:
Good team spirit
Aston Martin leapt up the pecking order at the start of the season having been stuck in the lower midfield when Alonso signed for the team in last term.
"The team has a very good spirit and it is nearly a celebration to be honest," he hailed, addressing the improvement.
"Last year we were in Spa after the August break, I came here after signing the contract and they were ninth in the Constructors' Championship with only Williams behind them and now we are in front of Ferrari which is just incredible.
"The first half of 2023 has come completely out of nowhere and we were so fast from the beginning and we still enjoy all the good things about this car, the new factory, the new energy within the team and all these kinds of things."