Massimo Rivola thinks Ferrari will give Charles Leclerc a fair chance to win the 2019 world championship.
But others think a clear number 1 policy in Vettel's favour is a better bet.
"Leclerc looks really good and he has a great future ahead of him," F1 legend Mario Andretti told Sky Italia. "It was always Sergio Marchionne's plan to take him to Ferrari.
"But I don't know if it's the right time for him. In every team there must be a first and second driver. Two number ones never works," he added.
But Rivola, who got to know Leclerc well while he ran the Ferrari driver 'academy', thinks Leclerc can take on Vettel.
"I believe and hope that Ferrari will give both the same opportunities, and that the best will prevail," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"There is no doubt that 2019 is considered an apprenticeship for Charles, but you can be sure that he will try to win right away," Rivola added.
He said Leclerc, 21, is more like Fernando Alonso than German Vettel.
"I had the opportunity to work with Sebastian when he debuted in Toro Rosso, and with Alonso in his debut season in Minardi," said Rivola.
"It is Fernando with the same anger as Charles in qualifying, and the same ability to always show amazing results," he added.