Daniel Ricciardo believes the lessons learned from using Renault's upgraded engine at the Brazilian Grand Prix could help seal Red Bull's decision on power units for 2016.
The Australian has been given sole responsibility to try out Renault's new specification power unit from Friday practice at Interlagos.
Depending on how well the engine goes, then it is also possible that team-mate Daniil Kvyat could take the new engine from Saturday morning too. A decision on that will be made after practice.
Despite the change meaning a 10-place grid penalty for Ricciardo, he is adamant that he and his team can only gain from the move – especially as it will deliver a clearer indication of Renault's potential for 2016.
As Motorsport.com reported after the Mexican Grand Prix, Red Bull is edging closer a plan to run Renault engines – potentially unbranded – next season after failing in its attempts to land Mercedes, Ferrari or Honda deals.
“As Red Bull we want to know,” said Ricciardo. “We are undecided on what we are going to do next year, so if maybe we do see something positive for this weekend and take forward for next year, it could give us an option or give us a clarity on where we want to go.
“In my position – with two races left – we are not fighting for a whole lot. It is not a circuit we expect to be on the podium, so there is nothing to lose in trying it.
"And as I said, it might give us some clarity or answers.”
Ricciardo believes the actual step forward in pace will be small, but is hoping there could be bigger gains in terms of its driveability.
“For sure I am curious,” he said. “But I am not getting my hopes up. Renault said it is not going to give me a whole lot of lap time, between one tenth and two tenths.
“If they say between one and two tenths, then it is probably more like a tenth. I am curious to know more the driveability: if there is something from it, whether it picks up the throttle cleaner, or if there is something here which can be positive and that can help with tyre wear or things during the race.
"This is something I am more interested in.”
Abu Dhabi plan
Ricciardo also reckons that getting the new engine penalty out of the way this weekend will put him in a good position to challenge strongly in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
“We always wanted to try this new spec engine at some point, and this one makes sense for sure more than Abu Dhabi,” he said.
“There is only something to gain from learning. I think we will learn something this weekend and hopefully for Abu Dhabi it will put us in good shape.
“Last year we had pretty good pace there, we started from pit lane and finished fourth. Williams and Ferrari might have found a bit more pace this year, but we should be close.
"There are straights, but all the corners there suit our car. It should give us a chance.”