Renault has revealed that it may tactically delay using Formula 1 engine development tokens early this season in a bid to make bigger gains for 2016.
Following an FIA ruling over the winter, power unit manufacturers are now free to introduce their 32 development tokens at any point over the season rather than having to hit a pre-season deadline.
That moves means any upgrade work that cannot be completed over the winter could be implemented early in the campaign instead.
But Renault says that it is considering taking an entirely different route and delaying upgrades until the closing stages of the season.
That would allow it to use this year's engine development tokens to make early headway on 2016 power unit performance.
Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul told AUTOSPORT: "We have been capable of not only thinking of the next few races or next season, but the next seasons.
"Even though we have two years of partnership to go before hopefully there is a renewal, we need to maximise the value of money from the token allocation that we have.
"I think that there is a bit of strategic thinking to employ for this decision and therefore for the in-season development strategy for 2015."
Abiteboul believes that Renault has made enough of an improvement for 2015 that it could afford to hold tokens back with an eye to 2016 without compromising short-term performance.
"I think we need to stay calm. I believe, and I hope I am not wrong, that we have enough of a performance step in order to look and envisage carefully the options for in-season engine development and do the right thing, not only for 2015 but also for 2016," he said.
"We have options. We have to see how we play with the resources we have to develop this year's engine or bring forward a bit of next year's engine regulations."