Daniel Ricciardo believes the new Renault power unit is no quicker than the previous specification after finishing a tenth of a second behind Daniil Kvyat, who was running the older unit, during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Coming into the weekend, Ricciardo downplayed the significance of the upgraded power unit from the French manufacturer, saying he was, at best, expecting an improvement of two tenths off a second.
But having extensively tested the engine during practice and qualifying, the Australian now says there is no noticeable difference to the previous version.
"With the grid penalty, no, but for us getting some clarity on where [the engine] is, yes,’’ Ricciardo said, when asked whether it was worth taking the grid penalty in favour of a new engine. "We had to try it, and see if what Renault saw on the dyno could be replicated on track, but it didn't really give us any laptime.
Ricciardo says the knowledge of the performance improvement - or lack thereof - from Renault should help Red Bull better decide whether they should continue with the Vinyl-based manufacturer next year.
"So it's a penalty for a little bit of knowledge. We've taken a hit today, but long-term we're better off for what we've learned. We know what [the engine] is, and that we need something better if we continue together next year,’’ he added.
Daniel Ricciardo is expected to start the Brazilian Grand Prix from 19th place, having originally qualified in ninth place.
by Rachit Thukral