Valentino Rossi has begun his Formula 1 test return this morning as he commenced two days of running in a 2008 Ferrari at Catalunya.
The MotoGP champion has been given the test opportunity as a mark of Ferrari's respect for his latest title success in motorcycle racing, although both parties have emphasized that Rossi is driving the F1 car for his own entertainment and that there is no prospect of his once-mooted F1 switch being revived.
To comply with the current F1 testing restrictions, Rossi is using a two-year-old car fitted with GP2-specification tires. The car, run by Ferrari's Clienti department, is the same one that Rossi tested at Mugello in winter 2008 as a reward for his MotoGP championship victory that year.
The Italian prepared for today's outing with a session in the new F1 simulator and meetings with the team's mechanics at Ferrari's Maranello base last week.