Felipe Massa and Stefano Domenicali have both admitted that record-breaking multiple MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi would be 'welcome' in F1 should governing body the FIA consent to teams being allowed to run three cars rather than just two.
Rossi will try out for Ferrari in a 2008-spec car at Barcelona next week as a reward for his 2009 riders' crown – his seventh in the premier class, and ninth at world level outright – and the test has fuelled speculation that the Italian could yet make the switch over to MotoGP's two-wheeled equivalent once he hangs up his motorcycling helmet.
At just 30 still and with a number of test appearances for the Scuderia
already under his belt in recent years – one of which even prompted seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, the most successful driver in the sport's history, to remark that the Urbino native would be good enough to race at the front in the top flight – the rumours linking Rossi to an eventual F1 future with Ferrari refuse to go away, much as the man himself might deny them.
With the Catalunya outing looking unlikely to be derailed by the Yamaha star's appendix scare late last week [see separate story – click here
], and following a visit to the Prancing Horse's Maranello headquarters on Friday to try out the simulator and conduct some laps of Ferrari's Fiorano test track in a 458 Italia road car, both Massa and team principal Domenicali have reflected that 'The Doctor' would be an excellent addition to the race team should only the regulations permit it.
“It's not sure that the third car will be allowed, but if it is, Valentino will be welcome,” mused Massa, who is now happily fully recovered from his life-threatening Hungaroring qualifying accident last summer that had at one stage risked leaving him partially blinded.
“For us, the third machine would represent a good move for F1,” concurred Domenicali, “especially if a driver like Valentino would be interested.”