Grapevine: Rossi Fed Up with F1 Talk

Valentino Rossi might soon be looking for a new challenge in Formula One, reports say. The world MotoGP Champion, however, does not want to talk about it

Grapevine: Rossi Fed Up with F1 Talk

"It's becoming a big problem," the Italian said in Le Mans when asked about recent reports that he could be in Formula One from 2007.

"I've said nothing new and still new things are being written," added Rossi, who extended his domination of MotoGP with victory in Sunday's French Grand Prix.

"I'll finish my career in motorcycling and stay in MotoGP for the next 10 years."

Nobody, not even Rossi himself, seriously believes that.

Rossi has test driven with the Ferrari F1 team and there has long been speculation in Italian media that he could eventually take over from German Michael Schumacher with the Italian team - a partnership that would delight fans and sponsors in his homeland.

The 26-year-old Rossi is in a class of his own in motorcycling and has said several times that he would like to switch to motor racing, mentioning not only Formula One but also rallying.

Another Year

The reason Rossi does not want to talk about it now is a report in Friday's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper which quoted his Yamaha team director, Davide Brivio, as saying the Italian would be in Formula One from 2007.

Brivio later denied having said that, saying in Le Mans that he could not predict Rossi's future and did not know how long he would stay in motorcycling.

The saga will continue at the next race, the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello on June 5.

After that home race, Rossi is expected to sign with the Yamaha team for another year, until the end of the 2006 season.

Nobody can tell what will happen subsequently but it is likely that Rossi, who has nothing more to prove in motorcycling, will try something new.

"If you believe you're the best you can't get better and I always want to get better," he said.

Fifth Title

After winning his first title as a teenager in the 125cc class in 1997 and taking the 250cc crown two years later, Rossi won three titles in the top class with Honda before taking a gamble at the end of 2003 by leaving Honda for Yamaha.

That did not stop him from winning a fourth successive title last year. With a fifth this year, which looks very likely as he has already won two of the first three rounds, he would match Australian Mick Doohan.

With an incredible 45 victories from 84 starts in the showcase class, his win rate puts him far ahead of all the other riders of the modern era.

The biggest name on the circuit, the cheerful Rossi is also one of the most sought-after sportsmen for major sponsors. In Italy, his boyish face and curly hair feature in several high-profile advertising campaigns.

His place in motorcycling history already assured, he might find it hard to stay motivated. There will probably also be pressure from his sponsors, wanting a new adventure to make sure he retains his great marketing value.

Even motorcycling promoters, aware that MotoGP racing is becoming predictable if not boring because of Rossi's unchallenged supremacy, might not be totally hostile to his departure.

 

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Alexander Rossi
Author Patrick Vignal
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