Valentino Rossi's recently-announced switch from FIAT Yamaha to Ducati from 2011 has brought the record-breaking MotoGP
legend a significant step closer to an eventual future in F1 with Ferrari
– that is the view of the Italian's father Graziano.
Following last weekend's Czech Republic outing at Brno, Yamaha and Ducati both finally confirmed what had been arguably the worst-kept secret of the summer [see separate stories here
], but one far less substantiated rumour that has been doing the rounds for some years now is that 'The Doctor' still harbours a desire – borne from his test outings with the Scuderia
– to one day competitively try his hand at F1 too.
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has publicly acknowledged his eagerness to bring Rossi onto the grand prix grid in a third scarlet machine should the opportunity ever present itself.
Moreover, not only do the Prancing Horse and Ducati share a common sponsor in Marlboro and a joint annual pre-season media get-together at the Italian skiing resort of Madonna di Campiglio, but Ducati CEO Gabriele del Torchio has also admitted that once the seven-time premier class world champion's two-year contract is up for renewal – at which stage he will be 33 – all options are effectively open.
“Valentino is not yet able to stop with motorcycles,” Rossi Snr – a former GP rider and 250cc race-winner himself back in the late 1970s and early 1980s – told Italy's Sky Sport
, “but if in three or four years he will get into F1, then what better road than with Ducati? This seems like a big step forward.”