Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko believes that Pierre Gasly would not perform now how he did during his ill-fated stint at Red Bull in 2019.
The French driver was promoted after one full season at the then-called Toro Rosso junior team to replace Daniel Ricciardo as Max Verstappen's teammate. But Gasly struggled to match Verstappen and was sent back to the junior outfit after only 12 races.
Since then Gasly has flourished at what is now known as the AlphaTauri team, with his strong run of performances culminating in a surprise win at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. This has led Gasly to declare that he is now performing better than ever, and Marko is in agreement.
"I agree with him completely, this is the best Gasly we have seen so far," Marko told Motorsport-Total.com.
"At the moment, this question [of a possible comeback] does not arise. But of course there is a danger when you're next to Verstappen, you can see how [Sergio] Perez struggles in qualifying.
"But Gasly has changed. I had a long conversation with him recently in Graz. He wouldn't react or perform the way he did back at Red Bull Racing."
There has been much speculation over Gasly's future, but Marko says that the Frenchman has two years remaining on his contract which would keep him within the Red Bull stable until 2023.
Gasly has had a strong season so far in 2021, and has scored 39 of AlphaTauri's 48 points, with rookie teammate Yuki Tsunoda taking the remaining nine points. Marko believes that, if the team had two drivers like Gasly, they would be able to compete with the likes of McLaren and Ferrari.
"Yes, that would be possible," the Austrian said. "One side is that Tsunoda doesn't regularly finish in the points, which Gasly already does.
"The other is that AlphaTauri have had two or three races where they haven't been able to call up the potential of the car. But in general, yes, that's the goal.
"And that's also the reason why we're sticking with Gasly as team leader of AlphaTauri."