Daniel Ricciardo says the performance of Renault's upgraded power unit in the Brazilian Grand Prix could finally bring about a conclusion to Red Bull Racing's engine dilemma as signs point back towards a potential reconciliation with the manufacturer.
Though Red Bull management has repeatedly played down the likelihood of seeing out its Renault contract as intended having spent recent months seeking an alternative power unit for 2016, its lack of options have reportedly shifted the emphasis back to the French firm as a final resort.
It comes as Renault prepares to roll out its long awaited upgraded power unit at Interlagos this weekend after its original plan to run it in the United States was scuppered by Red Bull's desire to avoid a grid penalty around a more favourable circuit.
Considered a shakedown for 2016 ahead of Renault's mooted takeover of the Lotus team, though the manufacturer is only predicting a two tenths gain in terms of lap time, Ricciardo admits a positive outing could indeed convince Red Bull to rekindle its relationship.
“We are still undecided what we are going to do next year, so if maybe we do see something positive from this weekend, and something we could take forward to next year, then it could give us an option as well and some clarity or answers on where we want to go.”
Despite the strained relationship between Red Bull and Renault this season, Ricciardo remains confident the two parties' working relationship won't be harmed should a reconciliation indeed occur.
“I have stayed pretty calm about all the talk. When there were stories with Renault and Red Bull having conflicts, I just kept doing my thing and always try to keep good relationships with people.
“Even when we have had some problems with Renault with reliability, the guys here at the track it is 9 times out of 10 not their fault. Whatever happens next year I don't think anything has been affected or tarnished.”
Should Red Bull continue to use Renault-manufactured power units in 2016, it is understood it would do so with different branding, potentially from primary title sponsor Infiniti.
Going forward, Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has already expressed support for the independently-developed 'customer' engine being proposed for 2017, suggesting any potential deal for 2016 is for one year only.