Michael Schumacher was left “stunned” by the pace shown by Valentino Rossi during his first Formula 1 test, recalls ex-Ferrari mechanic Luigi Mazzola.
MotoGP legend Rossi tested several times for Scuderia in the last decade, with some speculating that he could leave two-wheel racing for a shock move to F1.
The Italian’s maiden test in a grand prix car came in 2004, when he took Schumacher’s championship-winning F2004 for a spin at the Fiorano circuit.
Mazzola, who was present at the test during the historic day, provided first-hand account of Schumacher’s reaction as they together witnessed Rossi trying to get to grips with an F1 car.
"I do not remember exactly how many tests we did with Valentino Rossi at Ferrari, certainly at least seven," Mazzola said.
"At the first, Valentino went on the track and did about 10 laps - and on the last, it was an incredible time.
"I remember that Michael Schumacher, who was with me looking at the telemetry, had a stunned looked, almost incredulous."
Despite strong rumours, a switch to F1 never materialised for Rossi as he continued to race in MotoGP, adding a seventh premier class title to his tally in 2009.
by Rachit Thukral