AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost ranks Pierre Gasly among F1's "top drivers" for his ability to extract the most out of his car and for his lack of mistakes.
Save for this year's opening round in Bahrain where his efforts were undermined by front-wing damage, Gasly has scored points in every race, including in Baku where the Frenchman finished P3 and secured his third podium finish.
Tost said that performance was an important achievement "for his self-confidence".
"Pierre always did a good job, but we could not provide him with a really good car in Portimao, and also a little bit in Barcelona. But in Monaco we came back, and Baku as well," the AAustrial told Motorsport.com.
"He is there, and he belongs for me to the absolutely top drivers, because he gets everything out of the car, doesn't make mistakes, and brings home points."
Gasly's shock win last year at Monza and his string of good results this season have sparked rumors that Alpine was taking a keen interest in the 25-year-old.
However, Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko recently said that Gasly was a perfect fit for AlphaTauri, an assessment that Tost agrees with.
"I hope that he stays with us," he added. "We'll see now with the cost cap if we can provide him with a competitive, proper car.
"And then there's no reason than to change. And it's anyway a decision from Red Bull, who is driving."
Red Bull's sister outfit has historically served as a training ground for the energy drink company's junior talent. But Gasly, a bona fide Grand Prix winner, no longer fits that description.
In view of next year's regulation overhaul in F1, Tost underscored the importance for AlphaTauri to have at least one experienced driver in its line-up.
"That's important. Especially next year, with the new regulations," he said. "We need a benchmark, we need to know where to go from the set-up of the car.
"That's not possible with two young drivers, or two inexperienced drivers."