Grapevine: Rossi: Dinner Led to Ferrari Test

Valentino Rossi has revealed that his first test with Ferrari was the result of a chance conversation he had over dinner one night with the team's director of F1 racing activities Stefano Domenicali

Grapevine: Rossi: Dinner Led to Ferrari Test

Although it had previously been thought that either Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo or sporting director Jean Todt had pulled off a major coup in getting Rossi behind the wheel of a Formula One car, the reigning MotoGP champion has now disclosed a completely different version of events.

Speaking in his new autobiography 'What if I had never tried it', Rossi reveals how Ferrari beat both BAR-Honda and Toyota in the bid to get him into a Formula One cockpit thanks solely to his private chat with Domenicali.

"In March 2004 I had dinner with Stefano Domenicali," said Rossi. "It was the night of the Australian Grand Prix and the opening race of the F1 2004 world championship.

"We talked about everything. But at one point, the conversation slipped over to the issue of cars. I told him that as a child I raced karts and that for a while, I dreamt about becoming an F1 driver.

"Why don't we arrange a test?" he said all of a sudden, seeming cold and relaxed. 'With the F1?' I asked. I wanted to be sure I had understood correctly."

Domenicali eventually spoke directly to di Montezemolo, who agreed to the test, which took place amid tight security at Ferrari's Fiorano test track.

Rossi also talks about the level of secrecy that Ferrari took prior to the test to ensure that no details of it leaked out. He was transferred to a car with tinted windows once he arrived at Modena and he had to sleep at the track so he would not be spotted at a local restaurant or hotel.

Rossi has since tested again for Ferrari in a more serious fashion, with speculation suggesting that he will join the race team for 2007 after a final season in MotoGP next year.

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