Williams Martini Racing driver Felipe Massa has today announced that he will retire from F1 at the end of the 2016 season, and the news was also confirmed by the Williams F1 Team on Twitter earlier today.
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) September 1, 2016
In a press conference that was called at short notice and held at the team motorhome, in situ at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, this afternoon, the Brazilian made his announcement and explained the reasons as to why he felt the time was right to leave the sport he had been a part of ever since being given his first chance at the big time with the Sauber F1 team, all the way back in 2002.
“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.”
Massa has taken eleven wins and forty-one podiums throughout his fourteen year career in F1, and narrowly missed out on winning the world championship in 2008, when he was cruelly beaten to the title by Lewis Hamilton by just a solitary point, in a battle that went not only down to the final race of the season in Brazil, but the final corner of the final lap too!
The Brazilian drove alongside seven time world champion Michael Schumacher during his dominant years at Scuderia Ferrari having moved to the Italian outfit in 2006, as well as partnering Fernando Alonso at the Maranello based squad until 2014, when he moved to Williams and his final F1 home.
Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams spoke of her sadness at Massa leaving the Williams family and how much they will all miss him.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Felipe these past three seasons 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.”
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas also shared his support for Massa on Twitter.
Massa’s presence in F1 will most certainly be missed up and down the paddock, and by fans and media alike. As one of the sport’s true nice guys, it would be hard for anyone to find a bad word to say about the Brazilian, who has had a fine racing career that he can look back on with pride. TCF wish him all the best in his future ventures.