Flavio Briatore has insisted that he would not
be willing to offer compatriot and six-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi a seat at Renault in Formula 1, suggesting the Yamaha ace 'belongs' on two wheels rather than four and that without him the sport would 'not be half of what it is'.
Aside from his record-breaking exploits in grand prix – with a staggering 97 victories under his belt – Rossi has proved his versatility by branching out into the vastly different disciplines of rallying, including his second participation on this weekend's Wales Rally GB [see separate story – click here
], and a number of F1 tests with Ferrari over the past few years, the most recent of which came in celebration of his 2008 title, clinched at Motegi in Japan back in September.
Indeed, the 29-year-old seriously contemplated a switch from two wheels to four several years ago, before ultimately deciding to commit his future to motorcycling.
Whilst recognising the man from Urbino as a popular and flamboyant personality who would do wonders for the all-too clinical world of F1, Briatore is adamant that his countryman is far better off staying put where he is.
“He appeals to everyone, as a rock star does,” the Renault F1 managing director told Italian newspaper Il Riformista
, “but I would not give him a car.
“He belongs to the world of bikes. There, he is without an equal, and some say that without him MotoGP would not be half of what it is.”