As we reported back on January 29, Valentino Rossi tested, yet again, in a Ferrari F1 car earlier this year. He is stunningly quick on four wheels. His most recent test with Ferrari resulted in his lapping Catalunya just one-tenth of a second off Kimi Raikkonen’s pole lap in a Ferrari in 2008. Ferrari loves Rossi and fully believes Rossi could be F1 world champion.
Rossi has repeatedly, and publicly, denied that he is interested in moving to F1. Money wouldn’t necessarily be the issue. Although Rossi is believed to earn 20 million dollars a year in MotoGP, between salary and endorsements, salaries, in general, are higher in F1 than they are in MotoGP. Although Rossi is expected to move to four wheels when he retires from bike racing, he apparently prefers the World Rally Championship.
Ferrari is not giving up, however. The leader of the Prancing Horse, Luca di Montezemolo, was quoted earlier this week as stating: “We want a third car [in F1 next year] and I would do everything to have Valentino… When he wins this year’s MotoGP, enough is enough, he must also win in Formula 1.” Since it was reported that Michael Schumacher earned roughly 40 million dollars the last year he raced with Ferrai in F1, we must assume di Montezemolo will find the funds to make Rossi a handsome offer. Perhaps Rossi’s future depends, in part, on whether he can win another MotoGP title this year to show the “kids” he is still the best before he moves on to four wheels.