Esteban Ocon believes both Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly will shake up the order at the front of the Formula 1 grid with their promotions for 2019.
While the Frenchman is having to wait for his big chance with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have put their faith in youth with Leclerc moving to the Scuderia alongside Sebastian Vettel and Gasly partnering Max Verstappen at the Milton Keynes-based squad.
"Pierre and Charles are going to fight for wins and podiums [next year]," Ocon declared in Austin on Thursday.
Of the two it is the Leclerc's move which has caused the most stir and Esteban also tips the Monegasque to make an immediate impact on the championship fight.
“I think Charles will fight for the title next year, for sure,” the current Force India driver said. “At least it won’t be a surprise to me."
If they do live upto expectations, then Ocon thinks the two drivers can be the catalyst for a generational change in F1, bringing an end the decade-long reign of Lewis Hamilton and Vettel.
"Probably the mentality of F1 is going to change with that. Seeing that young drivers can do the job, too. That’s only going to help the younger ones coming in,” he claimed.
There is speculation that given his possible absence from the grid next year, Mercedes may follow their rivals and promote Ocon to a race seat in 2020.
And the 22-year-old hopes success for Leclerc and Gasly will only increase his stock price based on their history together.
"We've been fighting all the way through, to be honest, me Charles and Pierre," he explained. "Me and Charles more than with Pierre, because Pierre started a bit later in karting.
"In the French championship I was winning and then I was fighting with Charles, Charles was arriving and he was a rookie.
"[So] I know him pretty well. The first race we raced together was in 2005 in Mini Karts, we were seven or eight years old.
"We were first and second. I was on the inside and we crashed on the last corner of the last lap, so he didn't finish," he continued. "I finished, like, sixth or seventh. That was the first time we met.
"All our career we've been fighting like this together. I know he has a very good talent from day one. He's one of the quickest guys out there.
"I think he will show that next year, definitely."
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