Q: Daniel, in hindsight things are always clearer. Was the engine change a mistake? Daniil was quicker in the end with the old engine - and on top of that you now have a ten-place grid penalty?
Daniel Ricciardo: For the grid position it definitely was a killer - but to get an impression of that new spec was super important, as for Renault it means back to the drawing board. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret testing it because we had to see if there are any positives - if what they saw on the dyno could be replicated on track. And no, in hindsight it didn’t give us any lap time, so it’s a penalty for a little bit of knowledge.
Q: Did it feel any different? Were there any benefits at all?
DR: If I am honest, no.
Q: But will these findings help for 2016?
DR: I hope so. So I am happy that I did it. Now we know: this is what it is and we need something better. We need to try a different path or something if we’re to continue together next year. It has obviously taken a hit today, but long term we could be better off because of what we’ve learned.
Q: You will use this engine tomorrow in the race. Could it be a benefit there? Perhaps it is good in long runs but not on qualifying laps?
DR: Apparently not. I believe not. Yes, it is a fair question, but from what I have seen there is nothing in it that would suggest it works better in the race. But don’t get me wrong: even if we haven’t gained lap time today I am sure that Renault has learned something from it. There will be some benefits from the last days running with it. Hopefully it will give us lap time in the future. To be honest, in the last two years we’ve learned a lot about these power units - so now it would be nice if that could translate into lap time.
Q: Coming back to yours and Daniil’s lap times, could it be that this engine was actually a disadvantage?
DR: From what I have seen, Daniil was quicker on the straights, so yes, it was a possible disadvantage.
Q: Isn’t that frightening you for next season?
DR: It is still early days. And with this weekend’s information we got some directions. And it is better trying it now than in winter testing. I am still optimistic. (laughs)
Q: So what are you hoping in the race? Still optimistic?
DR: I am starting from P19. It is hard to imagine that miracles are happening at that far end of the grid!