Ferrari technical director James Allison says that Sebastian Vettel's strong performance in Brazil has given the Italian squad renewed hope about its prospects for 2016.
Vettel finished 14 seconds behind race winner Nico Rosberg, and only six seconds adrift of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in a race that did not feature any safety car periods.
"We were not bad, but we never at any point made them break out into a sweat, I don't think," said Allison. "The car was strong, and they've only got a whisker on us here.
"In general, as the season's gone on, we've just crept a little bit closer, and certainly we've done enough to make ourselves believe that if we do a bit more over the winter we can come back and maybe make them sweat a bit harder."
He added: "The gap was sufficiently small that you could sort of have a hope looking ahead that if we do a good job over the winter, we could be there."
Allison made it clear that the Maranello team is already excited by the potential of next year's car.
"The guys who come here and race the car, they're the people who push the thing through the season. But back at home there are a lot of people who have been head down on next year's car, not just for weeks, but for months and months.
"All those things are coming together for that new car, we're starting to get a real idea of what we're going to deliver for next year. And it's just a thrilling time.
"This season will be over soon, I'll be able to give my full attention to it then, and it's exciting, daunting, but thrilling."
Regarding the season finale, he said: "Abu Dhabi will be a race we're trying to win like all the others. We'll come there and try our best to put our car at the front and win.
"I think we'd have to have a following wind, but we have won this year three times, so never say never!"