Felipe Massa has announced his retirement from the sport at the end of this season, bringing an end of a career which has spanned over three different teams, including a season where he was extremely close to winning the World Championship.
After a 14 year career in Formula One, the 35 year old Brazilian will drive in his 250th and last race at Abu Dhabi in November, following the announcement at Monza this afternoon in front of a packed motorhome.
Massa joined Sauber in 2002, with a reputation in his debut season of being rather erratic, swinging from hero to zero from race to race. Sauber’s engine supplier Ferrari stepped in and took him under their wing, with him becoming their official test driver in 2003. He returned to Sauber for another two seasons before making the jump to Ferrari to become Michael Schumacher’s teammate in his final few successful seasons. When Michael left in 2007, it was Felipe Massa who narrowly missed out on the World Championship in 2008 to one Lewis Hamilton famously claiming it on the final lap by overtaking Toyota’s Timo Glock.
The debilitating crash in Hungary 2009 didn’t stop him through, returning to the sport but could never match the glory days of his 2008 season. A move to Williams three years ago put new life into the Brazilian, having an excellent first season with the team in 2014 matching highly rated teammate Valtteri Bottas, although subsequent seasons have been less successful.
In a statement, Felipe Massa said, “I must start by especially thanking my wife and my father, my whole family, my manager Nicolas and all the people who have supported me throughout my career. Thank you to God for giving me the opportunities I have had in life and, above all, for protecting me.
“A huge thank you as well to everyone I have worked with over the years. Every team I have been a part of has been a special experience, and not only in Formula One. I have so many great memories over the years and thank everyone in all the teams I have come through to help me get to where I am today.
“My career has been more than I ever expected and I am proud of what I have achieved. Finally, it is a great honour to finish my career at such an amazing team as Williams Martini Racing. It will be an emotional day when I finally conclude my Formula One career with my 250th Grand Prix start in Abu Dhabi.”