Alonso uses Rossi for F1 mind game
'I'm glad he drove with Ferrari'
World Champion Fernando Alonso is either unimpressed with MotoGP counterpart Valentino Rossi's F1 forays, or he is ramping up some mind games with Ferrari prior to kick off in 2006.
Speaking at a news conference in Madrid, the 24-year-old Renault driver said it did not bother him that the motorbike racer joined the F1 world at a recent test in Spain.
''I'm glad he drove with Ferrari,'' said the Spaniard, ''because it means they lost valuable time preparing their cars during that show.''
However, Alonso did not criticise Rossi, who - albeit with a more powerful engine - logged impressive lap times in Spain. But he did warn that switching to two wheels would likely be 'very difficult' for the Italian.
''He might finish fifth or even get on the podium some time,'' said Fernando, ''but I could do the same on bikes if I was given a bit of time to practise.''
Alonso is the third commentator to muse on the Rossi topic this week, after Gerhard Berger and Alex Zanardi both said the 27-year-old is made of the right stuff to succeed in F1.
''I would rather hire him than anybody else at the moment,'' Toro Rosso co-owner, Berger, told Motor Cycle News.
Former F1 and Champ Car driver Zanardi, however, was quoted as telling Gazzetta dello Sport that Rossi is not yet ready to change grids.
''I think if he went to Melbourne today he would be three seconds too slow,'' the Italian told the newspaper. ''But, with the talent he has, he can be ready with a full year of testing.''