Friday, November 14, 2008

F1 tests for racing legends

5-times World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb and 6-times MotoGP Valentino Rossi will get tests in Formula One equipment this month. It was confirmed earlier in November that Loeb will test for Red Bull Racing at Barecelona while Rossi will test with Ferrari at Mugello.

Both Loeb and Rossi have tested F1 machinery before, Loeb with Renault and Rossi with Ferrari. However for Loeb it will be the first time he will test a F1 car with other F1 caliber drivers while Rossi has experience with that. Nevertheless, it is not Loeb's first experience outside of the WRC. The Frenchman has experience in sportscars and has driven at the 24 Hours of LeMans several times with a best finish of 2nd overall in 2006.

For the uninitiated, Loeb and Rossi are legends and arguably the best drivers/riders in the history in their respective racing disciplines. Each man has rewritten the record books. Loeb has won 5 consecutive World Rally Championships (WRC) and is career leader in WRC wins with 46. Once only considered a tarmac (or asphalt) specialist, he quickly proved he was versatile and can succeed on different road surfaces.

Rossi, nicknamed "The Doctor", holds 8 Motorcycle World Championships in total most recently in 2008. He is closing in on the record for race wins before he is even 30 years old. He is a racing natural and has proved quick in anything he has ever driven or ridden...including some "one-off" drives in the WRC. Rossi has had several tests with Ferrari from 2004 through 2006 in preparation for a potential switch to Formula One from the world of motorcycles which gave many people chills (including myself) at the prospects of seeing the Italian add his professional yet unique flare and showmanship to the F1 grid. In his last test in 2006, he was only 1.8 seconds slower than Fernando Alonso which continued to add fuel to the fire that was a potential Rossi switch to F1.

It is always a pleasure to see these tests and watch drivers from different series and disciplines test their worth in F1 equipment. This latest go-around will be no different.

Loeb in a Renault

Rossi in a Ferrari

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