Eurosport - Thu, 04 Feb 07:10:00 2010
Despite the rumour mill continuing to link him to a possible Formula One role when he decides to end his MotoGP career, Valentino Rossi remains reluctant to imagine himself in the cockpit of a Ferrari.
The seven-time MotoGP champion has tested with the Prancing Horse on numerous occasions, reportedly posting competitive times on his last appearance, at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, but continues to claim that he cannot see himself making the switch from two wheels to four, in F1 at least, on a permanent basis, even when he decides to hang up his leathers.
The question was put to Rossi once again as he prepared to unveil the livery his Yamaha YZR-M1 will carry this season, but the Italian remained tight-lipped.
"I had the chance to drive the Ferrari F1 car in Barcelona, and it was great," he admitted, "I had fun and it was a very good test, with good lap times, but I think that it will be very difficult to see me driving in F1."
Pressed further on when fans could expect a decision about his future, with rallying also having been rumoured as a possible outlet for his competitive talents following appearances on the WRC in recent years, Rossi revealed that the matter would be dealt with later in the year - but reverted to trademark humour when it came to letting slip on anything he was already planning.
"It is difficult to say a date, but during the next summer I will have a clearer idea about my future, about 2011 and 2012," he said, "I am very good in Yamaha, so I will talk to them first. Then we will see. I can tell you that I am building a new house. All the rest, I don't know - I have not decided yet."
Rossi admitted that he was excited to see Michael Schumacher returning to F1 after a three-year 'retirement', having worked alongside the German during his tests with the Scuderia, but insisted that he had no plans to follow the seven-time F1 champion's career path.
"A lot of great sportsmen such as Michael Jordan and Lance Armstrong retired and then came back, but, honestly, my objective is to not retire at all," the Italian pointed out, "If I do, I would do something else.
"But I don't know, it is really very difficult to say. It has been an interesting and curious choice. It will be nice to see Michael in an F1 car again and to see if he can be as fast as he used to be before retiring."
Rossi's current team manager, Davide Brivio, meanwhile, had his own views on the Italian's dilemma, admitting that, as a fellow countryman, he could understand the lure of racing for an icon like Ferrari.
"I have a little of a fight inside because I am a Yamaha team manager, but I am also a big Ferrari F1 fan," Brivio conceded, "I would like to have two Valentino Rossis, one in Yamaha and one in Ferrari.
"Of course, I hope that he continues to race with us and remain in our team because I love to work with him but, as for a possible challenge in Ferrari, I think he has good potential, although he would probably need some time to learn and to get experienced.
"Experience is not something you can buy. I don't know if the public and the media have the patience to wait for him but, as a sportsman and as a Ferrari fan, it would be very interesting. However, I hope he will race in motorcycles and that he will just test Ferrari from time to time."