Rossi came 'very close' to Formula 1 drive
16 December 2016 – MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi came "very close" to competing in Formula 1 earlier in his career, following multiple test appearances with Ferrari, according to his father.
Rossi first tested Formula 1 machinery back in 2004, at Ferrari's Fiorano test track, alongside Michael Schumacher, and made a handful more outings over the years.
He was linked to a race seat on several occasions, including when Felipe Massa fractured his skull in an accident in 2009, ruling the Brazilian out for the second half of the season.
In a video posted on the official MotoGP website, reflecting on previous years, Rossi's father, Graziano, commented: "Valentino was very close to driving in Formula 1.
"Because the only thing which is comparable to a MotoGP bike is a Formula 1 car, and [racing in] other motorsport [categories] would be taking a little step down.
"Valentino refused [a move] – his love for MotoGP was too big."
Rossi, a nine-time World Champion, will enter his 18th season in the premier class next year, and is now just eight victories adrift of Giacomo Agostini's all-time record (122).
Rossi's father continued: "If the day after tomorrow he still wants to go fast in a rally car, for example, or in a touring car race, or something other than Formula 1, then he can.
"But only after he has ended his mission to be number one in the world."