Ferrari Needs to Back Charles Leclerc With a Winning F1 Car: Valentino Rossi

Published 02/09/2021, 6:20 AM EST
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari prepares to drive in the garage before practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)


The most successful team in the history of F1 is in a spot of bother currently. Ferrari has truly relinquished their crown to rivals, Mercedes, and they don’t look like regaining it back next season as well. So, it is important that they heed the advice of a motor racing legend to get back on track.

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That person is none other than Valentino Rossi. The seven-time winner of the premier class previously test drove for the Prancing Horse and is not new to the ins and outs of the sport. Though the lifelong fan is sold on Charles Leclerc as their lead driver, he is willing them on to give the Monegasque the car that backs his talent.

16 LECLERC Charles (mco), Scuderia Ferrari SF1000, action during the Formula 1 Winter Tests at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya on February 28, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“I love Ferrari, I also love Charles Leclerc. I think he is one of the strongest pilots on the grid. Ferrari has a pilot that can win. Maranello has this mission. It needs to produce a vehicle that can fulfill it,” Rossi said.

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Dethroning Mercedes is no easy task, but he wants them to at least compete at a respectable level. Laying down the Gauntlet, he said – “Challenging Mercedes is a big problem for everyone. But like Red Bull, they must at least be in the fight to make Mercedes’ life difficult.

Rossi driving for Ferrari was ‘not a publicity operation’

The Tifosi have always been longing to see an Italian-bred driver behind the wheels of their car. Given that Valentino was the most famous name in motor-racing at the time, Ferrari offered him a test drive in 2004. He showed great promise and was just 0.7 seconds off the pace of reigning champion, Michael Schumacher.

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“Everyone knows that it was not a publicity operation, Ferrari did not need it. At first, it was almost to make a courtesy to the desire of a great champion. I saw that he was going strong, especially he lacked continuity, but he had a lot of potential and desire,” said Ferrari President at the time, Luca di Montezemolo.

“At one point we thought he would do a year at Sauber, but he was smart and preferred to remain number one in motorcycles rather than four or five in cars.”

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Smart choice indeed from Rossi. He was the face of MotoGP back then; something he may not have experienced in F1. At 41 years of age, he is still going strong with no thought of retirement in his mind.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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