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Massa announces retirement

NEWS STORY
01/09/2016

Felipe Massa has announced that he is to retire from F1 at the end of the season.

The 35-year-old Brazilian is in his third year with Williams, having joined the team in 2014, and is due to celebrate his 250th Grand Prix start at his final race in Abu Dhabi.

Massa scored three podiums and one pole position on his way to seventh in the drivers' standings in his first season with the team, helping Williams climb to third in the Constructors' Championship.

Two further podiums followed in 2015 as he finished sixth in the Drivers' Championship and the team retained third place in the Constructors'. He is currently ninth in the 2016 championship.

Massa made his F1 debut with Sauber back in 2002, scoring his first points in just his second race. He was signed as a test driver by Ferrari for 2003, before returning to Sauber for two further years alongside his testing duties with Ferrari. This relationship paved the way for Ferrari's driver academy which was launched in 2009.

Massa graduated to a race seat at Ferrari in 2006, alongside seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher. He took the first two of his 11 career victories that season, finishing third in the world championship.

In 2008 he was world champion for all of 38.907 second, the Brazilian cruelly losing the title when Lewis Hamilton managed to take fifth position, and thereby the required point, to claim the title.

A year later his career was nearly ended when he was hit just above the eye by a spring that fell from Rubens Barrichello's car, the spring piercing his visor. The incident, coming just a week after Henry Surtees was killed at Brands Hatch, is widely seen as a prime factor behind the move towards a Halo type device.

He stayed with Ferrari up until he joined Williams in 2014, with his 139 starts for the Scuderia making him the team's second-longest serving driver ever, behind Schumacher.

Massa remains one of the most popular drivers in Formula One, especially so in his native Brazil, and in Italy following his 11-year stint with Ferrari, making it especially poignant that today's announcement is taking place at the Italian Grand Prix.

"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," said Massa. "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."

"It has been a pleasure to work with Felipe these past three seasons," added Claire Williams, "and we will all be sad to see him leave. Felipe came to us at a time of huge change and his blend of experience, talent and enthusiasm have been an important factor in the turnaround of the team. Anyone who knows Felipe knows what a warm and caring person he is, with an infectious personality. He has done a great deal for our sport over the years and I think every team that has had the pleasure of working with him has great affection for him. I know this has not been an easy decision for him, but we all respect his decision to bring his Formula One career to its conclusion at the end of this season. I would like to thank him, on behalf of all the team, for all his hard work over the last three years and we wish him the best of luck for whatever the future holds. He will always be a member of the Williams family and we hope that he will always feel welcome within our team."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Monza, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Nortim, 01/09/2016 19:22

"Felipe, thank you for being in F1 for so long and good luck in future!"

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2. Posted by GrahamG, 01/09/2016 17:22

"An honourable exit by an able and honourable driver and man. Very sorry to see him leave F1 but probably the right time.
What next ..... LMP1? - he would be a great asset with many years of experience. Whatever, good luck Felipe and thanks from all of us."

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3. Posted by You Started It!!, 01/09/2016 16:31

"I've always shouted for him, but it'll be a shame. However I don't think anyone is going anywhere with Williams; they're just there making up the numbers!!!"

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4. Posted by edllorca, 01/09/2016 14:58

"It was fun watching him all these years from the high of nearly winning the championship to the low of hitting that spring. Fair well in your future."

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5. Posted by nonickname, 01/09/2016 13:18

"Gi well Felipe,you have earned a good rest."

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