Prema Powerteam boss Rene Rosin reckons GP2 champion Pierre Gasly has done enough to warrant a step up to Formula 1 despite being overlooked by Toro Rosso for 2017.
Gasly, who is part of the Red Bull driver programme, overhauled Prema teammate Antonio Giovinazzi in the season finale in Abu Dhabi to become champion in his second full year in the series.
However, Red Bull had already selected its F1 2017 line-up by that point, with Daniil Kvyat getting the nod to continue at Toro Rosso alongside Carlos Sainz, leaving Gasly with no opportunity for an F1 debut.
"For me, he's totally ready for Formula 1," Rosin told Motorsport.com. "He deserves a seat in Formula 1, unfortunately of course Red Bull announced for Toro Rosso Kvyat and Sainz.
"But he [Gasly] is ready for Formula 1. I would like to see him quite soon in a bigger category."
Red Bull has however lined up a seat for Gasly in Japan's Super Formula category - and Rosin says the Frenchman would be well-advised to take any opportunity for more racing practice in 2017.
"[He should] continue pushing like he's doing," added Rosin. "If he has a chance to get a drive somewhere else, [he should] get it, to keep him in training, and try to convince the people at Red Bull that he's the right guy.
"He's capable of doing it, he's a real team player, somebody who is really working hard inside the team to build up everything, and he's done this season an amazing job."
"One of the best" over one lap
At Abu Dhabi, Gasly took his eighth feature race pole in GP2, trying 2015 champion Stoffel Vandoorne for the all-time series record.
"To be fair with you, since the first test we've done last year, we've noticed that his capability over a single lap is outstanding," Rosin said. "He's very very good. He has this characteristic, he is capable of doing that. On a single lap, I think, he's one of the best.
"He's really well-prepared, he's working hard with engineers for preparation, which I think is something very important for GP2 - to arrive on the weekend, where you just have 45 minutes free practice and you really need to be on top of everything, straight from the first lap.
"And he's capable of doing that."
Prior to his GP2 title charge, the Frenchman was famed for a lengthy victory drought, which spanned his Formula Renault 3.5 campaign in 2014 and GP2 rookie season last year before finally coming to an end at Silverstone in July.
"I think last year he had some problems with the race management, which took us a bit of time to solve," Rosin explained.
"On the other hand, already in Barcelona, he suffered a bit again on the same issue, in Monaco had the accident. In Baku, he did a good job and in Austria he was leading, then a bit of rain came and he spun. It was a silly mistake, we all know, but from mistakes you learn.
"I think from that moment, this season, I think he was really focusing to improve this part of his characteristic - improving on the racecraft. And I think that he's done that. The races [since] have been very, very good for him."