Ricciardo sampled the upgraded power unit first, with team mate Daniil Kvyat expected to follow suit - and take the resulting grid penalties like the Australian - if Red Bull deem it to be a sufficiently compelling prospect.
“I’m curious to know more,” Ricciardo commented ahead of practice. “Renault say it’s worth a couple of tenths on lap time, but I want to see what the driveability is like, too, the throttle response, things like that."
Renault’s prediction proved to be pretty accurate - Ricciardo finished FP1 in fourth place, two-tenths up on his Russian team mate in sixth.
Both men have already used up their engine allocation for the 2015 season, hence Ricciardo’s ten-place penalty for taking on his eighth unit of the year.
Ricciardo is also hoping the Renault upgrade could help Red Bull determine their 2016 direction in terms of engine supply, with the team yet to confirm whose power units they will run next year.
“It should also give us some clarity over where we want to go with the possible future,” he added.
With two rounds remaining, Red Bull’s drivers are locked in a battle for seventh place in the championship, with Kyvat leading Ricciardo 88 points to 84.