As Valentino Rossi confirmed that there were
serious discussions regarding his racing for Ferrari
in the upcoming Italian Grand Prix, Sir Stirling Moss has warned the legendary eight-time motorcycling world champion against making the switch across to four wheels in the future – arguing that the man from Urbino is 'too good' to take such 'a backwards step'.
After triumphing on home turf at Misano at the weekend – his sixth victory of the 2009 MotoGP campaign as he speeds inexorably towards what he hopes will be a seventh premier class title at season's end – Rossi acknowledged that it would be wise to 'never say never' on the topic of a possible second career in scarlet one day.
It has been revealed that the Scuderia
approached the Italian about the prospect of filling in for the injured Felipe Massa
in-place of the underperforming Luca Badoer
in front of the adoring tifosi
at Monza this coming weekend – but as he has invariably done on previous occasions, Rossi turned Maranello down. However, whilst three years ago the 30-year-old had been adamant that his F1 dream was over, it appears that now he is not so sure.
“There was the possibility of doing some tests, but I didn't feel ready to leave bikes,” 'The Doctor' told television station TG1
, stressing that the speculation was not merely an elaborate publicity stunt ahead of Ferrari's home outing and explaining that the team had asked him 'What are you doing in bikes? Come to Formula 1.'
“It all began because when I did test I was quick. I feel that I am still young, though – I have time. You should never say never.”
Moss, however – widely-held to be the greatest driver of all time never to lift the ultimate trophy – suggested that the Yamaha star would do better to steer clear of joining the grand prix grid, contending that his flamboyant personality and sense of fun would sit ill-at-ease with the increasingly cold and corporate ambiance of the F1 world.
“I'm certain Rossi could succeed in F1 if he wanted,” the 16-time-grand prix-winner – due to celebrate his 80th birthday later this month – told Visordown
. “If you are good at one motorsport you will be good at the other, and Rossi has that much talent and understanding of speed I'm certain he could make it in F1 – even at the age of 32 when he retires – but personally I would not advise it.
“I think he is too good for F1; he would revolutionise the paddock by bringing in a sense of humour. If he seriously wanted to race F1 I'm sure his desire and dedication would see him succeed, but I don't think he should do it – it would be a backwards step. The atmosphere in the F1 paddock is different to the motorcycle one, not as much fun and much more serious – and I don't think he would enjoy it.”