SEPTEMBER 25, 2002
MotoGP champ Rossi to test BAR
BAR boss David Richards has extended an invitation to MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi to test for BAR, a deal that Honda has no doubt encouraged. Rossi won ten of twelve races for Honda this year, in a very Michael Schumacher kind of season.
When Bernie Ecclestone caught wind of the plan, he thought it to be an excellent idea, as Rossi has an outgoing personality seldom seen in today's F1 paddock. "Where's a Piquet?" Ecclestone said in MOTORSPORT NEWS. "So we need someone like Valentino Rossi. I've met him - fantastic."
John Surtees is the only man to win world championships on both motorcycles and in Formula One, and Mike Hailwood made the switch successfully as well.
Sponsors have pushed teams to let racers from other racing disciplines test for promotion in recent years. Colin McRae and Martin Brundle made a Subaru/Jordan swap in 1996 as both teams were backed by BAT, and Marlboro allowed motorcycle champion Max Biaggi to test a Ferrari at Fiorano in 1999.
Letting someone with no F1 experience in a car is always a risk, however. In April of 1998, Rally driver Tomi Makinen and Motorcycle World Champion Mick Doohan both tested for Williams, and both crashed significantly, destroying two cars in the process.
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