Daniel Ricciardo does not believe the upgraded Renault power unit is any better than the previous specification having ran with it for the first time in Brazil this weekend.
The Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver qualified ninth, but will drop to nineteenth due to a grid penalty for changing to the new engine, but feels Renault will have to go back to the drawing board to get the speed it needs to be competitive, especially after finding he was actually slower than team-mate Daniil Kvyat, who was still running the older engine.
When asked about whether the penalty was worth it, Ricciardo admitted it was not in terms of speed, but in terms of data it was worth the ten-place drop.
“For the grid penalties no, but for us, getting some clarity on where it is, yes,” said Ricciardo. “We have seen it hasn’t really given us anything, so back to the drawing board for Renault.
“We have to try and find some more from it but I don’t regret testing it because we had to try. We had to see if there were any positives from it and if what they saw on the dyno was replicating what we felt on track.
“In hindsight, it didn’t give us any lap time, it’s just for now a penalty for a little bit of knowledge.
“I haven’t see the Q3 laps, but in Q1 and Q2, I was slower than Danill down the straight so it was a possible disadvantage.”
With Red Bull looking increasingly likely to remain with Renault for at least the 2016 season, Ricciardo insists the engine manufacturer needs a dramatic improvement, and the Australian admits at least part of him remains optimistic this will happen.
“We need something better, we need to try a different path or something if we’re going to continue together next year,” added the Australian. “I’m sure there are things we can learn from it or Renault can learn from it.
“It’s now about trying to put together things they have learned and actually give us lap time now. I would say the last two years, we have learned a lot with Renault with these power units, but not a lot has equated to lap time.
“Hopefully there are some conclusions to be drawn from this engine and we have only run it for two days, so hopefully there is still something in there we can extract from it.
“For now, it hasn’t proven to be the ingredient we wanted. But it’s better trying it now than at winter testing. Parts of me are still optimistic.”