Felipe Massa has confirmed he is retiring from Formula One at the end of the season. The Brazilian original intended to retire at the end of last season, but came out of retirement to replace then teammate Valtteri Bottas who moved to Mercedes.
Massa had said he wanted to continue in the sport next season, but ahead of his home Grand Prix, he confirmed he was retiring from the sport. Williams says they will announce Massa’s replacement in “due course”.
Williams has been assessing both Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta to replace him. However, the teams engine supplier Mercedes, has been pushing for Pascal Wehrlein to replace him.
This season Massa has been narrowly outscored by his teammate Lance Stroll, but he has had the upper hand all season.
In a statement released by Williams, he said “I have now enjoyed four great years with the team, but my career in Formula 1 will finally come to an end this season. Once more, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this time: my wife and my father, my whole family, my manager Nicolas and all my friends, colleagues and sponsors.
“I would also like to add a huge thank you to all of the fans who have been incredibly supportive and passionate over the years. I take so many great memories with me as I prepare for my final two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, and although they will be emotional, I am looking forward to ending on a high note and preparing for a new chapter in my career.”
It’s been a career of highs and lows for Massa with him starting at Sauber before moving to Ferrari during three competitive seasons where he took all his wins and lost the 2008 title by a point.
Also, Massa has experienced the lows following a crash in qualifying for 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, when he suffered a fractured skull after being hit on the head by a suspension part from another car.
However, he recovered and returned to the sport the following season qualifying on the front row. But failed to match the success of his emotional win at Interlargos in 2008.
F1 Vault’s analyst, Jason Fluhrer says “Not too surprised he’s been in the sport for over a decade now and is not as good as he used to be he will be giving up his seat for a talented youngster time to move to a different motorsport.”
Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta are the favourites to replace him. Both have taken part in tests for the team.
Massa during eight seasons at Ferrari won eleven Grand Prixs and missed out on a title by a single point. Abu Dhabi in three weeks time will be his final start.
Since moving to Williams his career has had a renaissance finishing on the podium three times. His last podium came at the 2015 Italian Grand Prix.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams said “I would like to thank Felipe for all he has done for the team over the last four years. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with him.”
“We are especially grateful that he agreed to postpone his retirement from Formula 1 for a year, after Valtteri joined Mercedes, which demonstrated the depth of the relationship we built during our time together.”
Massa has signalled while he is retiring from Formula One, it not the end of his racing career. He has been linked to Formula E, however with the season due to start in a months time and the seats all filled that now appears unlikely.