Dr Helmut Marko says Red Bull is expecting to take engine penalties in 2019.
The team is confident as it switches from customer Renault power to a new works engine partnership with Honda.
To close that gap, Honda and Red Bull have agreed that aggressive development this year is necessary.
"There will already be a real qualifying power mode, so the drivers are not always recovering from the start," reports Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
Marko is hoping it will be enough for a championship challenge.
"We have planned the world title for 2019," he said.
However, with that performance objective, Marko admits that reliability could continue to be an issue.
"We expect to use five engines for the season," he revealed. "But if we plan the punishments wisely, the damage will be small.
"Performance is more important," added Marko.