Felipe Massa has tonight confirmed that he will not be driving for Ferrari in 2014.
The Brazilian, who is in his eighth season in the team, made the announcement to his fans on Twitter this evening.
“From 2014 i will no longer be driving for Ferrari,” wrote Massa. “I would like to thank the team for all the victories and incredible moments experienced together. Thank you also to my wife and all of my family, to my fans and all my Sponsors. From each one of you I have always received a great support!
“Right now I want to push as hard as possible with Ferrari for the remaining 7 races. For next year, I want to find a team that can give me a competitive car to win many more races and challenge for the Championship which remains my greatest objective! Thank you all. Felipe.”
Ferrari are expected to announce Kimi Raikkonen as Massa’s replacement in the coming days.
Although Massa intends to join a top team next season, it is unknown where he could go. Lotus and McLaren may be after a new driver, but it is unlikely that the 32-year-old will be at the top of either team’s list, particularly when the likes of Nico Hulkenberg are also looking for a drive.
Massa has so far won 11 races over his eight years with Ferrari, during which time he has partnered world champions Michael Schumacher, Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso at the team.
His best year was 2008, when he was just moments away from winning the drivers’ championship after taking victory at the final race of the season in Brazil. Unfortunately for him, Lewis Hamilton grabbed the fifth place that he needed to take the title in the final few corners of the race.
An horrific accident during qualifying in Hungary the following year, when a spring from another car struck him in the head and fractured his skull, meant that Massa missed the rest of the 2009 season. On his return, he could never seem to re-kindle the same levels of performance that had seen him out-race his championship-winning teammates.
The arrival of Alonso as his teammate in 2010 then completely shattered Massa’s confidence. He was told to move over and let Alonso through at the German Grand Prix that year with the now-infamous phrase “Fernando is faster than you”, and would rarely out-qualify or out-race the Spaniard.
It came as a surprise to many when Massa’s contract was renewed for the 2013 season, and many commentators believe that Ferrari are right to now be shaking up their driver line-up. However, the Brazilian is widely regarded within the paddock and, if he is unable to secure a 2014 drive, he will be missed by many.