Bereft of a victory since July, Alonso now trails the reigning world champion by six points in the standings.
Perhaps of greater significance, however, is the clear impression that Vettel's Red Bull is now substantially faster than Alonso's F2012 following Ferrari's development difficulties since September.
"In the last few races, our progress has not matched our expectations and various components which we expected would make our car more competitive did not do so," confirmed Ferrari Chief Designer Nick Tombazis in an interview on the team's website.
"As a result, we are lagging behind our competitors. This doesn't mean we did not move forward on development, but we had been expecting something more."
Ferrari's ageing wind tunnel, which will be closed down during the coming weeks for "significant modifications", has been identified as the primary cause of Ferrari's malaise with Tombazis acknowledging that "the data we saw in the wind tunnel did not match 100 per cent the data we were getting from the track."
However, following a successful straight-line test ahead of this weekend's Indian GP, the team are now confident that they will be able to equip Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa with the tools to fight Vettel and Red Bull in the final four grands prix of the campaign.
"We had some unpleasant surprises from some of the updates we brought to the last couple of races, so immediately, we wanted to fix that and understand where it had gone wrong," said Tombazis.
"Therefore we have had an aero test prior to heading off to India, where we ran control tests on these updates to really understand what the problem was.
"We got some very interesting answers which we believe will allow us to recover from those problems and so, our aim in this forthcoming Indian GP, will be to make up the ground we have lost.
"And because we don't currently enjoy an advantage, either in terms of performance or as far as the points situation is concerned, we cannot defend, we must attack and adopt an aggressive approach to car development for these four races, bringing updates to every one of them to close the gap and fight for the wins and hopefully bring home the titles."