Valentino Rossi the 7 times world champion on a motorbike has completed his first public showing in a F1 car in Valencia Spain. He has signed for Ferrari, who looks upon him as a possible replacement for Schumacher when he retires. If his first showing is to go by, he looks certain to prove any sceptics wrong.
He delivered lap times very similar to what Schumacher had recorded in previous times in a similar car at Valencia last year. The testing was done in the Ferrari f2004 car with a restricted V10 engine, but when you compensate for this, times were very similar to the great Michael Schumacher. It would be quite astonishing for someone to dominate motorcycling and then switch to a F1 car and then dominate this sport as well, especially with the standards so high now. Ferrari the biggest name in F1 needs some injection of optimism after by Ferraris standards a poor 2005 season. Then with Michael Schumacher now the oldest driver on the grid with possibly only one season left before he retires, it is some relief that a new Italian hero may appear, although in this instance, he is already a hero. The other drivers were all suitably impressed, commenting whether they could possible get on to a bike and do the same thing in reverse.
The truth will come however in the racing. A F1 car does not handle like a bike and its one thing to go fast with no other cars in the way, than starting from the grid with another 21 cars all there around you, fighting for position. Personally he must be under more pressure than some of the drivers. If he gets this wrong he could go from hero to zero, even being second could be a disappointment at his level. I know certainly the Italians will be expecting the world.
However can you imaging what it would like to live in Italy if this famous Italian won the championship in a Ferrari car? I think we would here the celebrations in France. It's a shame we all have to wait until the 2007 championship where all will be revealed! .
By: Mark Flanighan