Felipe Massa today announced his retirement from Formula One following his 14-year career driving for Sauber, Ferrari and ending at Williams.
Calling a press conference in Monza, he called time on a career that he earned 11 wins, 41 podiums and the infamous World Championship near-miss in 2008.
Massa explained: “I’m relieved and happy. You need to be strong enough to make decisions that are quite difficult.”
His decision was in fact made months before this announcement and he explained that he chose to announce his decision in Monza as it was the place where his idol, Michael Schumacher announced his retirement from Formula One the first time.
“Michael was a big feature on my career,” he said. “I decided to do this here because of him.”
Felipe Massa has enjoyed a successful time in Formula One, having a competitive car for a majority of his career following his move from Sauber to Ferrari.
At Ferrari he enjoyed many battles at the front of the grid including the infamous title battle with Lewis Hamilton that came down the wire, ending in disappointment on the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Having crossed the line thinking he had won the championship, it was only amidst celebrations that he and his family realised that Lewis Hamilton had passed Timo Glock on the final lap of the race in order to win the 2008 Championship.
He announced in November 2013 that he was leaving Ferrari to join Williams for the 2014 season, the first of the new hybrid era.
He has help guide the Williams team, with Valterri Bottas, to third in the Constructor’s Championship in the 2014 and 2015 season, but the team are faltering to fifth in the 2016 season, behind Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and Force India.
But where does Felipe Massa go next? Having made his decision to retire “months ago”, it has given him plenty of time to find a race seat in another motor series for the 2017 season.
It is highly likely that he will be considering World Endurance Championship, Formula E or the Porsche Super Cup where former rival Mark Webber chose to go.
However, as he has made no further comments on his future just yet, the only thing for certain is that he is going to leave a race seat vacancy for the 2017 season yet to be filled.
Prompting speculation as to who will replace him. Rumours in the paddock suggest that it will be Jenson Button returning to his former team, but with Alex Lynn as development driver and Paul di Resta as the reserve driver, it is going to be a tough decision for the Williams team to make in order to make up lost ground on the front running teams they competed with in 2014 and 2015.
Felipe’s final race will be his 250th in Abu Dhabi on 27 November.
What are your favourite memories of Felipe Massa in Formula One? Where do you think he will be racing in 2017? We would love to hear your thoughts.
Joe Clark – @Joe96Clark