There have been plenty of rumours regarding MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi and an F1 race debut for Ferrari, most recently as a stand-in for Felipe Massa at the Italian Grand Prix, but only one scenario made real sense.

That scenario was if Ferrari was able to field a third F1 car in future, as the team has openly stated it would like to do.

"It is true we are pushing for three cars," team principal Stefano Domenicali told The Times in August. "It is better to make sure the biggest teams have three cars because that's what people want.

"With all respect to the smaller teams, the value of F1 is to have good drivers, great personalities, in good cars and with a great brand," he added.

Such a situation would give Rossi the chance to indulge his F1 dream, without the pressure of being a 'main' Ferrari driver and without contesting the full championship if he didn't want to.

Because not all F1 teams would have the budget for three cars, the extra Ferrari (or McLaren etc) would probably not be eligible for manufacturers' points and therefore not needed at every round.

Rossi might therefore sign up for a few of his favourite events, perhaps sharing the third 'guest' seat with retired F1 legend Michael Schumacher (the intended target of a third Ferrari for 2010, but who has little reason to want to race a full season).

A 'wild-card' format would certainly fit in perfectly with Rossi's desire for a slightly quieter life when he leaves MotoGP and allow the 30-year-old Italian time to indulge in his other four-wheel passion; rallying.

Rossi could even plan around his MotoGP commitments, should he sign a new contract - perhaps entering an end of season F1 event provided the MotoGP title has been decided.

The Doctor's present Yamaha contract expires at the end of 2010, but that would also suit Ferrari.

Ferrari currently has far more drivers than seats for next season. Existing drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Massa are under contract, but the team is highly rumoured to be signing Fernando Alonso. Giancarlo Fischella looks set for a test driver deal while Schumacher will also remain part of the team.

However that driver list will surely be reduced by 2011, when Rossi becomes a free agent.

But before you book your tickets to Monza or Monaco for 2011, FIA president Max Mosley believes that the third car concept will not happen.

"Three cars would mean re-writing the Concorde Agreement [the contract between the FIA and the F1 teams] and the time to think about three cars was before we all signed that, not after," Mosley told reporters at last weekend's Italian Grand Prix.

"Three cars is a nice story, but it's a little bit of fantasy - and difficult to get unanimous agreement on."

Nevertheless, if Ferrari is able to get agreement on a third car, it would be a shock if Rossi is not asked to race it at some point.

UPDATE: On Wednesday Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo once again stated that the top F1 teams should have the option of running a third car, for famous or young drivers, to help boost spectator interest in the sport.

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