MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi does not have much to say about Formula 1, so when he speaks it is worth a listen.
The two-wheel legend is admired and respected across the Formula 1 grid. Lewis Hamilton has tested with him and is well aware of what it takes to ride at Rossi level.
As a Ferrari fan, Italian Rossi like other multinational Tifosi are anxious for the Reds to do well this season, despite calls for patience, and that in Charles Leclerc, they have the real deal to do the business of winning, now the Maranello workshop has to deliver.
In a wide-ranging interview with Corriere della Serra, Rossi said of the Scuderia, “I am an F1 fan, I like Ferrari and I like Leclerc, I think he is among the strongest drivers on track.
“He is a driver capable of winning, now they have to build a car that is up to par. Challenging Mercedes is a problem for everyone. But Ferrari must at least be there, like Red Bull, to annoy them.”
Rossi famously tested for Ferrari during the Michael Schumacher era but a foray on four wheels to emulate John Surtees, winning world titles on four wheels and two-wheels, never happened.
At the time Rossi was at the peak of his powers in MotoGP and Ferrari were firmly Schumie-territory. Apparently, a deal did come close…
While that move did not transpire, much more recently his long time confidante and manager at Yamaha, Davide Brivio shocked the motorsport world when he ‘defected’ to F1, leaving behind the world title-winning Suzuki team he steered to victory last year.
Rossi said of Brivio’s departure to the Alpine F1 team, “I’m sorry he’s no longer in MotoGP. He’s a manager who raised the game and is a person I have always gladly met in the paddock. I’m happy for him, anyway. I think it is a point of arrival for those who do that job.”
Rossi turns 42 on 16 February, his incredible legacy continues to the collective approval of his army of fans and MotoGP in general.
As for his own ambitions, Rossi said, “I race because I think I can win, but it’s not an obsession. I’d be happy to do well, make podiums, be a protagonist, in the fight.