Felipe Massa has announced that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the 2016 season. The Brazilian, who began his F1 career in 2002 with the Sauber F1 Team and impressed straight away and in 2003 he became Ferrari’s test driver before moving back to Sauber in 2004.
The Brazilian joined Ferrari as Micheal Schumacher’s team mate in 2006 before the German retired from the sport at the end of that season and in making his own announcement Massa said he chose to make the announce his retirement in Monza because that is where Schumacher announced his own retirement the first time.
Massa was joined a Ferrari in 2007 with the Finn winning the championship in his first season with the Prancing Horse.
In 2008, Massa came alive at Ferrari and had an incredible season coming to within one point of winning the championship but was beaten to the title by Lewis Hamilton who was at the time driving for McLaren.
The 2009 season was extremely tough for Massa as at the Hungarian Grand Prix he was hit in the head by a spring from the Brawn GP of fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. As a result of his injuries, Massa was forced to sit out the rest of the 2009 season but returned to Ferrari in 2010 with new team mate Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard replaced Kimi Raikkonen at the Prancing Horse after the Iceman left Formula One for rallying.
Felipe Massa joined Valtteri Bottas at the Williams Martini Racing team in 2014 and speaking at a press conference in Monza on Thursday ahead of the Italian Grand Prix he commented by saying:
This will be my last season in F1,”I am very proud to have raced in F1 for so long, I achieved a lot more than l expected. Even if l lost the championship by a point l am very proud of my career and what l have achieved.
During his 14 year career, Massa won 11 races and scored 41 podiums along with 16 pole positions. Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams commented by saying:
It’s a sad and emotional day. He’s a true gentleman. We were a team in dire straits and were so lucky he came to join us. He’s been a big part of the success we’ve had over the last three years.
It is unclear who will replace Massa at Williams next season and the Brazilian has yet to announce what he will do next season.