Red Bull's Christian Horner is convinced new recruit Pierre Gasly will rise to the occasion next season, although he isn't expecting the Frenchman to challenge Max Verstappen from the outset.
A pure product of the Red Bull young driver programme, Gasly's career in F1 began in 2017 at the Malaysian Grand Prix with Toro Rosso, with a productive full formative year this season warranting his promotion to the senior bull outfit.
Horner isn't expecting Gasly to set the world on fire in Melbourne, but he does believe the 22-year-old will deliver the goods in 2019 once he settles in.
"I think it will be a challenge for Pierre but one that he’s up for," Horner told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview.
"He’s come through the same programme as Max and he’s here because we believe he’s the best upcoming talent and he deserves that opportunity in the car.
"So we’re expecting big things from Pierre next year."
Sitting on the opposite side of the Red Bull Racing garage, Gasly - the man who replaces the very talented Daniel Ricciardo - will have a formidable team mate and opponent to contend with, but Horner is shying away from any unreasonable expectations.
"I think it would be unfair to expect him to be immediately challenging Max," he said. "I think you got to give him time to settle into the team.
"I think Max has hit a very rich vein of form and he’s one of the most outstanding talents in Formula 1 at the moment.
"Obviously Daniel has struggled in qualifying against Max this year, but their race pace has been very comparative. Next year we need to give Pierre time, but I think that he has great ability," he added.
"He’s only one year into F1, but he’s put some great drives in. If you look at Bahrain, Monaco and Hungary in particular, he has had a number of stand-out races."