Felipe Massa has announced today that 2016 will be his final season in Formula One. The Brazilian has enjoyed a lengthy career in the sport and has decided to call it quits after this stint at Williams.
Massa has competed in the top-flight of single-seater racing for 14 years, picking up 11 victories and 41 podiums on the way. Massa was very emotional announcing the news today in Monza, but admitted that he’d made his mind up a while ago. He said,
“This will be my last season in F1. I will enjoy my last eight races in F1 as much as I’ve always done. I just want to say thank you to everybody who is around me and who have followed me in my career.”
– Felipe Massa
— Natalie Pinkham (@NataliePinkham) September 1, 2016
He added that his decision to make the announcement here in Monza was due to Michael Schumacher announcing his first retirement at this track also. Massa added,
“Michael was a big feature on my career. I decided to do this here because of him. 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.”
– Felipe Massa
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) September 1, 2016
Massa was a force to be reckoned with when he was racing at Maranello. Italian passion and Latino flair did operate symbiotically. His experience and feedback helped to shape Williams back into a podium challenger when he joined the team in 2014 too. His current team principal, Claire Williams, is more than aware of his impact on their team.
“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.”
– Claire Williams
The paddock definitely won’t be the same without him, but he can leave the sport with his head held high nonetheless. He has been a key player and a team player for many years and his racing boots will certainly be big ones to fill.