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"Proud" Felipe Massa to retire from F1 at the end of the 2016 season

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"Proud" Felipe Massa to retire from F1 at the end of the 2016 season
Sep 1, 2016, 12:48 PM

Felipe Massa will retire from racing in Formula 1 at the end of the 2016 season, he announced today in an emotional conference in the Monza paddock...

Felipe Massa will retire from racing in Formula 1 at the end of the 2016 season, he announced today in an emotional conference in the Monza paddock.

The 35-year-old called the press conference to announce the news ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, because Monza is an important place for him due to his Ferrari years and it is 10 years since his former team mate Michael Schumacher announced his retirement from F1.

Felipe Massa

"I'm more nervous now than all my race starts," he said. "After 27 years of my racing career, since I started karting and with 15 years in F1, this will be my last season in F1. It will be my last eight races in F1 that I will enjoy as much as I can. Thank you to everybody who is around me and follows me in my career.

"I have so many great memories [from competing in Formula 1] 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. It will be an emotional day when I finally conclude my Formula 1 career in Abu Dhabi."

Felipe Massa

Massa, who has so far started 242 Grand Prix races in a career that began back in 2002 when he raced for Sauber, is currently tenth in the drivers’ standings on 39 points for Williams.

One of the most popular drivers in F1 among his peers and the media, he has good reason to be proud of his career numbers; 11 wins, 16 poles, 41 podiums, missing the 2008 world title by a single point and coming back from a potentially career ending head injury in Hungary 2009. Abu Dhabi will be his 250th Grand Prix.

Williams has not said who will replace Massa but candidates include Felipe Nasr, Jenson Button, Pascal Wehrlein, development driver Lance Stroll and reserve driver Alex Lynn.

The Brazilian graduated to F1 after a successful junior single seater career, which included titles in Formula Renault Eurocup and Formula Renault Italy, as well as the 2001 Euro Formula 3000 championship.

After his first year in F1 with Sauber he spent 2003 on the side-lines working as a Ferrari test driver before re-joining the Swiss team for 2004 and 2005, where he raced alongside Giancarlo Fisichella and then Jacques Villeneuve.

Felipe Massa Brazil 2006

Ferrari then signed Massa to replace Rubens Barrichello as a race driver and teammate to Michael Schumacher in 2006. After difficult start to that season he claimed his first podium finish at the Nürburgring and then his first pole position and race win at the Turkish Grand Prix. He finished off the season by winning his home race at Interlagos, which made him the first Brazilian to win there since Ayrton Senna in 1993.

When Schumacher retired, Kimi Raikkonen joined Ferrari and the Finn would go on to claim the 2007 world title, while Massa finished fourth, 16 points adrift in the title fight, but he did score three more races wins.

The 2008 season was Massa’s best year in F1 as he scored six victories and finished second to Lewis Hamilton in the championship by one point after he famously cross the line as champion at Interlagos before the McLaren driver pulled off the move he needed to seal the title seconds later. Massa's dignified reaction to losing the title in such emotional circumstances won him much praise and respect.

Felipe Massa Brazil 2008

Ferrari struggled with F1’s new aerodynamic rules in the first half of 2009 and Massa registered just a single podium finish in the first nine races, a result that came at the German Grand Prix.

At the next race at the Hungaroring, Massa was struck on the helmet by a spring that had fallen off Barrichello’s Brawn during qualifying and the injuries he suffered in that incident meant he missed the final eight races of 2009.

But he returned to the cockpit with Ferrari at the start of the 2010 season, when he was partnered with Fernando Alonso.

Felipe Massa Bahrain 2010

Although he claimed eight more podium finishes after coming back from his injury, Massa was not able to recapture his form of 2008 and he appeared to struggle with Alonso’s dominant position within the Italian team, which was evidenced by the Ferrari team orders controversy at the 2010 German Grand Prix.

A fresh start at Williams in 2014 yielded three more podiums and a memorable pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix, as the British team enjoyed a return to competitiveness in F1 with its V6 turbo power units from Mercedes.

Felipe Massa Austria 2014

So far this season, Massa’s best result has been fifth at Melbourne and Sochi, but he heads into the race weekend at Monza after finishing tenth at Spa, the first top ten result he has scored since the European Grand Prix in June.

So far, Massa’s F1 record stands at 11 wins, 16 pole positions, 15 fastest laps and 1110 career points.

Felipe Massa

What do you make of the news that Felipe Massa will retire? Leave your favourite Massa memories and thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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Series Formula 1
Teams Williams