Rossi had Ferrari talks over Monza F1 drive

Rossi is a national hero in Italy and has toyed with racing in F1 in the past.
MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi says he talked with Ferrari about driving the team’s second car in the Italian Formula One Grand Prix next weekend – but decided against it.

Ferrari needed a replacement for the sidelined Felipe Massa after previous stand-in Luca Badoer failed to impress in his two outings. Rossi, who is headed for a sixth MotoGP world title, has a massive following amongst motorsport fans in his native Italy and would have been a popular choice. “I talked with Ferrari about racing at Monza. But without testing… it would not have been logical,” he was quoted in Gazzetta dello Sport. Ferrai have opted instead for Force India’s Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella, who will race for the famed team until the end of the season. Seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher was the original choice to replace the seriously injured Massa, but a neck problem caused the German to abandon his comeback plans.

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Any replacement has a massive disadvantage because of the rules which prohibit testing during the course of the season and this was a major factor in Rossi’s decision. “We already decided that to enter Formula One without testing is more risky than fun. You can’t go there and do everything to understand the car in three days,” Rossi added. “I also don’t know if I could have finished the race with my neck. And also, because we’re fighting for the MotoGP championship, the race at Monza would definitely have been a big stress and it’s better to stay in MotoGP.” Rossi has tested for Ferrari in the past and was reportedly close to joining them at the end of 2006 as a test driver, but decided to stick with two wheels. The 30-year-old is also considering his future with current MotoGP team Yamaha, who revealed last week that Jorge Lorenzo, his main rival for this year’s title would be given a new contract for next season. In other Formula One news, Force India said on Monday that Vitantonio Liuzzi would replace fellow Italian Fisichella for the rest of the season. The 28-year-old test driver will come in for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.