16 August 2009
Rossi rules out Monza Ferrari talk.
MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi has moved swiftly to quash suggestions that he may be in line to make his Formula One debut in the wake of Felipe Massa's injury and Michael Schumacher's decision not to come out of retirement to replace the Brazilian.
Rossi has tested with Ferrari on several occasions over the years but, despite rumours suggesting that he could be poised to make the switch from two wheels to four, a deal has never come to fruition, with the Italian preferring to remain at the top of the tree in MotoGP. Massa's injury did not initially spark any renewed connection between Rossi and the Scuderia, but Schumacher's U-turn last week saw the rumour mill crank back into life, claiming that there could have been an all-Italian assault alongside Kimi Raikkonen at Monza next month.
Rossi, however, has already dismissed the speculation as fantasy, despite there only being one MotoGP round in September, and nothing on the Monza weekend. Although the Italian has generally played along with the rumours of a switch to F1 - never flatly denying anything and repeating how much he enjoys driving grand prix machines - this time it appears that he is fully focused on the job in hand, with any one-off switch a threat to derailing his 2009 championship ambitions.
“Racing for Ferrari at Monza is impossible," Rossi told Italy's Tuttosport, "I'm totally concentrated on the MotoGP world championship and, as far as I'm concerned, this is just the hypothesis of a journalist.
"Even if I think lots of people would like to see me in the car at that race. I really don't think it's viable. There would be far too much to organise for me to be able to compete in an F1 race - I'm not sufficiently prepared, particularly for the violent demands an F1 car places on your neck.
"With the physical preparation that would be required, and the preparation I need to do for MotoGP, I think it's an impossible proposition.”
Luca Badoer will step into the breach for Ferrari at next weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia, with Schumacher still being talked about as a potential replacement for Massa at Spa the week after that. Monza, however, remains open to speculation, with both the seven-time world champion and Massa himself currently being talked of as potential entries for the Scuderia.
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