AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost hailed Pierre Gasly and his driver's "fantastic potential", insisting the Frenchman "will be there" this season if the Faenza-based outfit can provide him with a competitve car.
Gasly completed his fourth full season in Formula 1 among the sport's top-ten and achieved a personal best by scoring 110 points in the Drivers' championship.
After an unsettling campaign with Red Bull Racing in 2019 that was brought to a premature end, Gasly regrouped at AlphaTauri under Tost's guidance and put himself back on track with a sensational win in the Italian Grand Prix in 2020 and a solid season last year among F1's top-tier mid-field runners.
And Tost reckons that Gasly still has ample room to improve.
"He has fantastic potential," the Austrian told members of the media at the end of last season.
"What's important is I have still the feeling he can improve, because that's decisive then if you are on this level. If we provide him next year with a competitive car, he will be there 100 per cent.
"From the driving, he has now the experience of how to set up the car, how to manage the tyres.
"He can read the race, which is very important, he is on the radio, the questions he is asking, and he made this year another big step forward, a real big step forward.
"Once more, if our car works, he will be there."
Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko echoed his countryman's praise of Gasly.
"As everyone knows, we have two F1 teams and we’re putting a lot of effort in our fashion brand, AlphaTauri, we need a strong leader there," he commented.
"He is driving at his best but being number one in a very good B-team is a very different story to being number two to Max Verstappen at a top team.
"Mentally that makes a big difference."
Only time will tell if Gasly will be offered a second opportunity to shine at Red Bull Racing, but the Frenchman is holding on to his hopes.
"First of all, obviously, my priority is with Red Bull, but at the moment they’ve decided to continue with Sergio. I don’t know what they’re going to plan," he recently told Britain's Express.
"They’re saying that probably 2023 there could be an option. I’ll try to put myself in the best position for that, but it’s a discussion that we know we’re going to have next year with Red Bull."