'The Doctor' himself might repeatedly dismiss the notion, his FIAT Yamaha team boss Davide Brivio might fear it and the chances of three-car teams in F1 2011 might be as remote as ever - but undeterred, Ferrari has sent out its boldest signal yet that it wants record-breaking multiple MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi competing in one of its scarlet cars next year.

Rumours of an eventual transition from the pinnacle of international two-wheeled racing to its four-wheeled equivalent have been rife in motorsport paddocks around the world for some time, fuelled by a number of Ferrari testing outings for the Italian in recent years.

The latest of those - around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya aboard a two-year-old F2008 back in January - saw Rossi impressively close to barely two tenths of a second shy of the lap record around the track, set by Kimi Raikkonen, and to within a tenth of the Finn's 2008 Spanish Grand Prix pole position benchmark.

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Still the insistence from the 30-year-old Urbino native is that his head will not be turned and that his immediate future lies in motorcycling and in the longer-term perhaps rallying - but equally, still the famous Prancing Horse is seemingly refusing to take 'no' for an answer...

"We want a third car and I would do everything to have Valentino," the Scuderia's president Luca di Montezemolo is quoted as having said by Reuters. "When he wins this year's MotoGP, enough is enough - he must also win in Formula 1."