The Valentino Rossi, Lewis Hamilton F1 - MotoGP swap is on!

Valentino Rossi and Lewis Hamilton WILL skill swap soon with Rossi driving a Mercedes F1 car and Hamilton riding the Yamaha M1

Valentino Rossi Lewis Hamilton

Valentino Rossi is set to get an outing in an F1 car for the first time since his famous trials with Ferrari in 2004 as part of a skill swap that will also see five-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton ride his Yamaha M1 MotoGP machine.

The much-mooted switchover has been predicted for some time due to Rossi and Hamilton’s relationship with the Monster Energy drink brand, while Yamaha and Mercedes F1 also have close ties to the Malaysian Petronas petroleum company.

Now, after several years of hints, Rossi has revealed that talks have now indeed taken place for a special test that would see him get behind the wheel of a Mercedes AMG F1 car, with Hamilton going in the other direction and riding a Yamaha M1.

"Yes, we are trying to arrange this swap with Hamilton, it would be something fantastic," he told reporters at the Japan MotoGP.

“They are trying to organise a day when Lewis tries my M1 and I try his Mercedes. We hope to make it happen, it would be very cool. To drive an F1 car is always great."

Hamilton is a known motorcycle enthusiast, even having a special edition version of the MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR LH44 and F4 LH RR branded in his honour, while he often opts for two wheels when he arrives at his ‘home’ Monaco Grand Prix event.

Hamilton last year got out on track aboard a Yamaha R1 alongside Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark at Jerez, even suffering a crash which at the time threatened to halt any future two-wheel outings at the request of a disgruntled Mercedes.

Valentino Rossi to rekindle F1 fantasies

It’s been 15 years since Rossi realised his (and many others’ dreams) by getting behind the wheel of a Ferrari during F1 testing. At a time when F1 testing was less restricted, Rossi was given the chance to push and duly impressed to be competitive amongst his contemporaries.

Raising rumours he could swap MotoGP for F1 back then – especially amid talks that F1 could allow three-car F1 entries - though that of course never happened, many have often wondered what could have been if he’d swapped two wheels for four.

It remains to be seen what form this special – no doubt heavily sponsor-influenced test - takes, not least whether it’ll be a current specification Mercedes car or an older one. 

Rossi’s impending outing comes after Red Bull gave Marc Marquez a test in a Honda-powered Toro Rosso F1 car last year, albeit a 2014 specification one, while Jorge Lorenzo was also at the wheel of a Mercedes in 2016 at Silverstone.

Though not F1, more recently Andrea Dovizioso impressed on a one-off DTM outing with Ducati owners Audi at Misano, proving competitive in race conditions.