Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he has not made up his mind whether to take the uprated Renault power unit on offer in Austin, but suspects that the upgrade won't be worth the penalty fitting the engine would bring.
has finally made its long-awaited developments available to Red Bull and Toro Rosso but, with a litany of failures already behind him this season, Ricciardo is well into the penalty zone when it comes to fitting replacement engine parts and remains to be convinced that using a whole new unit will bring sufficient benefits to outweigh the ensuing punishment.
“It's available if we want to use it but, obviously, that would mean a penalty, so we've got to understand if it's worth it,” he confirmed with a sigh, “The last I heard, the [improvement] is not massive so, from my understanding, it's probably not worth taking it. I think we're down such a chunk [in performance] that we're not going to gain enough in a short time to make it up so, if we start from the back, I don't think we'll make the ground we need. Right now, I'd say we were less likely to take it – but, hopefully, today they'll tell me something different, that they've found a bigger chunk than [everyone else] has found from it, but, realistically, I don't think there's a whole lot.”
Finishing six laps off the pace in Russia while team-mate Daniil Kvyat took fifth on the road meant that Ricciardo dropped behind his younger team-mate in the overall standings but, despite personal pride saying otherwise, he insists that, in the bigger picture, that means very little in a disappointing season.
“I think, because we're not really fighting for the title, it's sort of irrelevant,” he claimed, “I've missed out on a fair few bags of points on various occasions this year, but I'm not too worried [about dropping behind Kvyat]. Obviously, you want to finish in front [of your team-mate], I'm not going to lie, but, when you're seventh or eighth in the championship, it's irrelevant. I'm confident I'll run him down with more points but we'll see – like I said, I'm not too fussed about it.”