Today is a bittersweet day in Formula 1. Today we learn that we’ll be saying goodbye to one of the best drivers of this generation of F1 greats. Felipe Massa announced this morning that he will be leaving F1 at the end of the 2016 season.
Massa is one of the best F1 racers ever that has never won a championship. He came very close in 2008, but it was not to be. With 11 career wins, all coming with Ferrari, Massa leaves behind a 15 year career where he raced with Sauber, Ferrari, and Williams. One of those years was as a Ferrari test driver.
The news comes as Massa was looking to renew his contract or possibly go elsewhere to stay in F1, but with Williams deciding not to renew Massa said enough and decided to hang it up.
Announcing his decision at a press conference at Monza, alongside deputy team principal Claire Williams, Massa said: “I’m more nervous now than all my race starts.
“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.”
Having been overshadowed by teammate Fernando Alonso at the end of his Ferrari career, Massa achieved a resurgence at Williams.
“I’m so proud to have been part of this team,” said Massa. “Williams had a difficult moment and then we managed to get amazing results in the last two championships.”
Williams signing Massa was huge for the team and helped revitalize it. Mass will surely be missed especially by the Williams team.
Claire Williams added: “This is a very sad and emotional day. For Felipe I know this was a big decision. He was so nervous. He is what we love at Williams, a true gentleman.
“We were so lucky he joined for 2014. We were a team in dire straights, we needed someone to come and be part of the team.”
Massa is set to contest his 250th F1 race in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
When asked if he will race in another series, Massa said he has no plans after F1, but would like to continue racing elsewhere. We hope he does. Massa was a blast to watch in his Ferrari days along with his battles with Lewis Hamilton.
Thanks for an amazing career Felipe. From everyone here at Shifting Lanes we hope to see you racing again next season ANYWHERE.