Teams need characters like Rossi says Ecclestone

Teams need characters like Rossi says Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone thinks Formula One needs more characters in the sport and backed MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi. The 23 year old Italian, who races for Honda, won this year's title with ten victories from twelve races and Ecclestone would sign...

Bernie Ecclestone thinks Formula One needs more characters in the sport and backed MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi. The 23 year old Italian, who races for Honda, won this year's title with ten victories from twelve races and Ecclestone would sign him up if he had a team.

"It's true that teams and sponsors manipulate the image of drivers and flatten them out, controlling too much," Ecclestone told Motorsport News. "So characters don't emerge. Where's a Piquet? So we need someone like Valentino Rossi. I've met him - fantastic. Unfortunately I don't have a team, or I'd get him on board straightaway."

Valentino Rossi.
Photo by Richard Sloop.
Rossi is a big fan of F1 and rallying and BAR boss David Richards has extended an invitation for him to test an F1 car: "Valentino is a fantastic racer. We would be happy to give him the opportunity to test one of our racers. He can come round any time." Richards said.

Former motorbike and F1 champion John Surtees thinks Rossi could switch to F1: "Valentino is gifted," said Surtees. "It would be the right time for him to move to F1. I think he is able to repeat my successes."

The Italian supports BAR's Jacques Villeneuve and thinks drivers are what attracts people to F1, not the cars: "Michael Schumacher is certainly the fastest in F1 but I don't like his way of doing things, his behaviour of 'first of the class'," Rossi said. "I like watching F1 through Jacques Villeneuve and today he's still my favourite driver. I think that drivers attract people and not their cars. Michael Schumacher is too concentrated on the track and I can't follow him like Villeneuve."

Rossi is hoping to take part in the Rally of Great Britain in November, possibly with Peugeot: "Rallying is my passion," Rossi said. "It is not yet 100 percent sure that I will take part, but we are on a good way. This will be very exciting."

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About this article
Series Formula 1 , MotoGP
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Jacques Villeneuve , Valentino Rossi , John Surtees , David Richards , Bernie Ecclestone