MARK Webber has warned Red Bull will fall off the pace quickly unless it can resolve its KERS curse.
Formula One's leading team has struggled from the start of the season with the power-boosting device.
Despite either having KERS part-functioning or not working at all, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel managed to win the first two races and was second in China last week behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.
Webber carved his way through the field from 18th to third in perhaps his best-ever drive but says Red Bull won't be able to hold McLaren at bay for long unless its KERS issue is fixed.
"McLaren have a huge amount of experience with Mercedes from 2009 and they're doing a good job of it, and that's not an excuse," Webber said.
"It means that we have to work harder, we have to work as cleverly as we can and as fast as we can.
"Fortunately, we now have a bit of a break, so it will be a clear focus for us in terms of durability and consistency and also understanding the system.
"We have awesome guys on the case. With the limited experience we have, that's the way it is and we're still going okay in the constructors' championship, so let's regroup, get to (the next race in) Turkey and work hard on it."
Webber said the KERS problem was doing more than just slowing down Red Bull's cars.
"It's not only a performance thing but it's also incredibly disrupting in the garage. My car was rebuilt about four times this weekend," he added.
"It makes it so much harder for them in terms of making mistakes, when you open a car up and put it back together all the time, it's not easy."
Webber has yet to run a working KERS in a race this season, and Vettel has only had it part-time at the last two grands prix.
According to Vettel, the lack of KERS cost him his third win of the season in Shanghai.
Team boss Christian Horner said Red Bull would make the reliability of their KERS a priority during the three-week break to the start of the European leg of the season in Turkey next month.