Grapevine: Rossi 'to Switch to F1 in 2007'

MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi plans to race in Formula One from 2007, according to his Yamaha team boss

Grapevine: Rossi 'to Switch to F1 in 2007'

Rossi's current deal with Yamaha runs out at the end of the season and team director Davide Brivio told the daily Gazzetta dello Sport that they have agreed on a one-year extension but then Rossi will switch to four wheels.

"There aren't any problems regarding the renewal of his contract for 2006. We have decided to talk about it after the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello," he said.

"We have already agreed on a one-year contract and we know that from 2007 he will be in Formula One," he added.

Rossi told the paper he would consider offers to switch to racing a car without giving any indication of whether it would be Formula One or another format.

"From the end of 2006 I will be free and if I have offers to race in a car I will weigh them up," he said.

Rossi has test driven with the Ferrari F1 team and there has long been speculation in the 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 Italy.

"We are friends, I have driven for them but there is not only Ferrari," said Rossi.

Asked whether he felt ready for the switch, Rossi said: "When I was a kid I started out in kart racing and then, luckily, I discovered motorcycling but my passion for the car has remained.

"I've tried rallying and I like driving the powerful WRC (World Rally Championship) cars. It is a family passion which I share with my father Graziano," he said.

Rossi goes into the weekend's French MotoGP Grand Prix leading the championship as he aims for a fifth successive world title.

The 26-year-old Italian was world champion at 125 cc and 250 cc before moving up to MotoGP where he won his first three world titles with Honda.

The biggest name on the circuit, he is also one of the most sought after sportsmen for major sponsors in Italy where he features in several high-profile advertising campaigns.

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