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Valentino Rossi was close to a spectacular move to F1

How Valentino Rossi almost became a Formula One driver

25 June at 11:38
Last update 25 June at 14:38
  • GPblog.com

On Sunday afternoon, the MotoGP will be held in Assen! It is therefore the perfect time to take a look back at one of the most talked-about stories, linking the motorbike class to the king class.

The Italian is possibly the best motorbike rider of all time. With nine world titles and 116 Grand Prix victories, the Yamaha man is among the measure of successes in the sport. But it was not just two-wheelers on which Rossi thrived, the Italian was close to a spectacular move to Formula 1.

Four years ago, the phenom was last in a Formula 1 car, when he took a seat in Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, with which he became world champion in 2017. The British great took the wheel of Rossi's Yamaha. Then Mercedes strategist James Vowles said he was impressed by Rossi, who impressed especially in the slow corners and braking zones.

Rossi at Ferrari?

At the beginning of this century, the flirtation with the king class was bigger. It seemed even more than a flirtation. If Rossi had wanted to, he could have driven in Formula 1 for Sauber, former Ferrari president Di Montezemolo revealed in conversation with Motorsport.com. After a test in the Ferrari, the Italian racing stable was convinced of his talent. "I saw he was doing very well. He lacked continuity, but he had a lot of potential and a strong will."

It even got to the point where the prancing horse considered giving Rossi a seat at partner team Sauber. "But he was smart," says Di Montezemolo."He preferred to stay number one in engines rather than fourth or fifth in cars."

It was a difficult decision for Rossi, who was pushed by those around him to choose Formula 1, even his mother told him to choose to take his chance, he told Mundo Deportivo.