Max Verstappen sees little benefit in taking on a fresh Honda engine for the final two races of the 2021 championship, as the change would not result in a performance similar to what Mercedes has received.
In a bid to give title contender Lewis Hamilton an edge this weekend, Mercedes has assigned to the Briton the fresh power unit he used to good effect in Brazil, a decision justified by Jeddah's high-speed profile that will require maximum power output.
But Verstappen believes that Honda's engines remain powerful and reliable despite their increased mileage, which implies that there would be little benefit in suffering a five-place grid penalty for the sake of taking on a fresh unit.
"Well, we don't have that peak [in power] with a new engine as Mercedes has," said Verstappen on Thursday.
"Our engine is actually pretty consistent throughout its lifespan. So doing an engine change like that doesn't really bring us a lot."
However, Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko has allegedly said that the Milton Keynes-based outfit is still mulling an engine change for the final round in Abu Dhabi for reliability purposes.
But the Dutchman believes that "we should be able to make it" to Yas Marina with his current pool of engines.
Hamilton's consecutive wins in Sao Paulo in Qatar, where he reduced his deficit to Verstappen in the Drivers' standings to 8 points, suggest that the Briton and Mercedes have the wind to their back ahead of F1's showdown.
But Verstappen says circumstances could come into play this weekend and make or break either team's chances.
"I don’t believe in something like momentum myself," he said. "You have to perform and do well every weekend again.
"We'll see this weekend, but I always find it hard to predict what the situation will be like exactly. It's all in the details, but more things can happen on a street circuit than on a normal circuit anyway."