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Massa announces retirement

Felipe Massa announced over the weekend that he would retire from the sport at the end of the 2016 Formula One World Championship season.

The 35-year-old Williams driver has become one of the most experienced drivers in Formula One history starting 243 Grand Prix to-date.

He specifically chose the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the home of Ferrari to make his announcement as that was where he enjoyed the longest period of his career.

After driving for 16 races for Sauber in 2002 he joined Ferrari as a test driver in 2003 but returned to Sauber for the 2004 and 2005 seasons, starting another 37 races.

In 2006 he was handed a race seat for Ferrari, in his fifth race for Ferrari he stood on the podium for the first time in his career with a third place finish at the Nürburgring.

In his 14th race for Ferrari he won the Turkish Grand Prix and he would go on to also win the Brazilian Grand Prix and finish third in the Formula One World Championship.

In 2007 he would win another 3 Grand Prix.

'In recent months I have been thinking a lot about my future and I have taken the decision that at the end of this season, I will leave Formula 1,' Massa told motorsport.com.

His biggest disappointment in the sport, was not the serious head injury he sustained in qualifying in Hungary in 2009 when he was hit on the head by a spring, but of the disappointment of not winning the 2008 Formula One World Championship.

Massa crossed the line first during the final race of the 2008 season, winning his sixth race of the season.

Title rival Hamilton needed a top five finish, but whilst Massa crossed the line he was in sixth.

The Brit would get up into fifth on the final corner of the race, snatching the title from Massa, whilst Ferrari were celebrating a title victory.

The Ferrari driver, at his home Grand Prix showed huge passion up on the podium, missing out on the Formula One World Championship by a single point, but would later discover the controversy of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Up until lap 14 of that race, Massa was leading, but then Renault's Nelson Piquet Jr crashed into the wall, which brought out the safety car.

His Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso pitted just before the crash, so when the leaders all pitted when the pit lane was opened, Alonso took the lead of the race and would go on to win.

Massa meanwhile would leave his pit box with his fuel hose still attached and dropped to last place.

Massa eventually finished 13th and outside of the points whilst Hamilton finished 3rd taking six points.

In September 2009, Renault admitted to the FIA World Motor Sport Council that Piquet had deliberately crashed to engineer a victory for Alonso. The instructions came from Renault team principal Flavio Briatore and chief engineer Pat Symonds.

'I remember very well when I learned what happened at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix – and I am referring to 'crashgate'.

'Without that incident I probably would have won the world championship, and I know that I didn't make it for reasons that are not related to a driver error or a team problem. So it is more difficult to accept.

'In Brazil at the end of the season I knew I had done my best. I won the race and I had nothing to regret about what I had done – and this helped me accept the lost title by just one point. What happened in Singapore I learned much later, and it pained me much more.


Massa never won again following the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix.

He would race 9 times before his crash in Hungary and would return almost 8 months later in Bahrain for the start of the 2010 season.

He would race another 77 times for Ferrari, before moving to Williams in 2014.

'When you are a child who dreams of getting to F1, you see the goal as almost unreachable. But for me, life was amazing, giving me a lot more than I could imagine.

'I never imagined that I would one day of course race for Ferrari and Williams. When I was little I saw Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna driving for the English team – and it was a dream to think I could follow in their footsteps.

'I managed to win many races with Ferrari, and go up many times on the podium. I fought for the world championship too, and but for one point I could have taken the title. But I am still a happy and serene person.








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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday September 6 2016

Time: 12:00PM

 

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