The Aussie will replace countryman Mark Webber after being promoted from Toro Rosso. Horner believes he has the right mindset to drive for Red Bull and will be capable of racing at the front.
“I think he could be a bit of a surprise because he is very quick,” he is quoted by AUTOSPORT.
“He is going to have a lot to learn but I think he will surprise quite a few people with the pace he has.”
The 40-year-old added: “He has dragged massive qualifying performances out of the Toro Rosso, which obviously is sub-standard, and he has continued to impress us with how he has raced, how he has delivered and performed with the tools at his disposal.
“If you look at the pressure points with him, even if his weekend doesn’t get off to a great start he recovers it. He seems to have the ability not to panic, but to put it together when it counts.
“Sometimes he’s had difficult Fridays, or even Saturday mornings, but when qualifying starts, nine times out of 10 he is there.”
Horner expects him to settle in quickly at the Milton Keynes-based outfit: “It is probably the right time in many respects. It’s a change in so many aspects that now is the time to change the driver. Of course, he is pretty well known to us anyway so it’s not like introducing a complete stranger.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic