Rossi: ‘I could have been an F1 contender’

MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi claimed this week that he could have "become a good Formula One driver".

The idea is not as far-fetched as it might first appear. The Italian motorcycle legend was involved in tests for Ferrari in 2005 and 2006 but opted not to make a career switch.

The decision meant that he has gone on to be champion in his sport eight times but a flavour of what might have been was given when Rossi accepted an invitation to test out Ferrari’s 2008 F1 car at the Mugello circuit.

The 29-year-old clocked an impressive fastest lap time that was less than two seconds behind recent ones recorded by Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen on the same track.

Taking off his helmet as a thunderstorm cut short his practice session, he told a throng of reporters: " It is hard to say if I would have become a winner or not, but the potential was there."

One driver who stands rather more chance of entering F1 is Bruno Senna, the nephew of the late great Ayrton Senna. He hopes to be driving for Honda in 2009 if testing continues to go well.

Written by James Christie

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