Former Ferrari engineer Luigi Mazzola recalled Schumacher’s reaction to Rossi’s performance in Ferrari’s F1 car and said that German could not believe how fast a motorcycle specialist was in F1 car.
Rossi tested the Ferrari F1 car several times between 2005 and 2009 and impressed with his speed, but decided not to chase career on four wheels because he loved motorcycle racing too much.
Ferrari gave Rossi several opportunities to test their cars, and one of those tests was the one on the eve of the 2006 season at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, when Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Valentino Rossi were driving red cars.
Luigi Mazzola recalled Schumacher’s reaction to Rossi’s performance and said he was surprised at how fast the Doctor was on four wheels.
“I do not remember exactly how many tests we did with Valentino Rossi in Ferrari, at least seven of them,” Mazzola said.
“On the first test, Valentino has done a lot of laps, and he has been driving some incredibly good times in last test.”
“I remember Michael Schumacher, who studied telemetry, looked very surprised, almost unable to believe what he saw.”
Although testing times are difficult to compare, on February 2, 2006 in Valencia Rossi was close to Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa. But it should be noted that Schumacher was driving a new F248F1 with a V8 engine, Massa was driving the F2004 with a V8 engine, and the Rossi F2004 with a limited V10 engine.
Schumacher tested tyres and developed a car, Massa focused on tyres only, and Rossi continued to adapt to the modified F2004.
Michael completed 43 laps and set the best time 1:11.640, Felipe completed 50 laps (best time 1:11.288) and Valentino completed 53 laps and set the best time 1:12.362.