Click either image to see Valentino Rossi driving the Ferrari F2008 at Mugello in high resolution
The Ferrari World Finals at Mugello finished a few weeks ago. But someone appeared to have forgotten to tell the tifosi, as a loyal garrison of the Scuderia's most loyal fans, thousand-strong, came back out last week to the track. After the Challenge series were decided, the 16M Scuderia Spider unveiled, the FXX program ran its laps and the fans celebrated the Formula One constructors' championship, what exactly were they hoping still to see? How about the prospect of seeing an Italian driver piloting an Italian F1 car around one of Italy's most famous tracks? And not just any driver, but Valentino Rossi, a world champion with credentials to rival Schumacher's.
Valentino Rossi is an unassailable legend in motorbike racing, having taken the titles in the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc categories in quick succession before moving up to MotoGP and taking the championship five times... so far. Having achieved dominance on two wheels, Rossi has examined the possibility of switching to four. He's competed in several championship rallies, winning the Monza rally in 2006. He initially tested a Ferrari F1 car at Valencia in 2006, where he embarrassed some of F1's most experienced drivers, prompting him to consider a professional switch to Formula One before ultimately deciding to stay in MotoGP. This past week's test session was just for fun then, but Rossi still proved his mettle. He lapped Mugello at 1:22.550 – just a second and a half behind Kimi Raikkonen's time – on his first drive without traction control. Rain interrupted the second day of testing, but while Rossi showed promise, he admits he'd be too old to start in Formula One at this point. Shame for F1 fans, but reassuring for MotoGP aficionados. Check out the gallery of high-resolution images from Rossi's test by clicking the thumbnails below.