When it comes to Italy, Ferrari is the pinnacle of Formula 1. Moreover, when we look at MotoGP, Italy’s Valentino Rossi is a racing legend. In a recent interview, former Ferrari president admitted that ‘The Doctor’ was close to joining Ferrari and took part in several tests between 2004 and 2010.
Rossi first drove a Ferrari in Fiorano in April 2004. At the moment, he wore a Michael Schumacher helmet. Interestingly, he was just 0.7 seconds shy of the German’s lap record on the track. Luca Di Montezemolo, the ex-Ferrari President, explained what happened further.
“In the beginning it was almost a favor to grant a great champion’s wish. I saw that he liked it. Most of all, he lacked continuity, but he had a lot of potential and desire.”
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Ferrari was about to put Rossi in a customer team
While he drove a Scuderia for the first time in 2005, Rossi’s father admitted that the Ferrari-Rossi partnership came close to becoming a reality in 2006.
Ferrari was once ready to put him in Sauber to prepare for bigger plans.
“At one point we thought he would drive for a year at Sauber, but he was smart and preferred to be number one on the Staying a motorcycle instead of number four or five in the car,” he said.
Eventually, the partnership between the most successful motorsport team and driver from Italy did not come through. However, Rossi came back to Formula 1 in 2019 and swapped places with Hamilton in the 2017 Mercedes car.
The Doctor has been racing for two decades now and is one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time. He claimed seven championship titles with three different manufacturers over the years and is starting a new chapter with Petronas Yamaha Racing Team.
The Maranello team, however, has seen a heartbreaking decline in their 2020 performance. They recorded their worst season since 1980, and are working around the clock to claim podiums again in 2021 with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. How long do you reckon it will take Ferrari to get back on top of the podium?