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Massa announces retirement from Formula One racing

01 Sep 2016

This season will be Felipe Massa’s last on the F1 grid, the Williams driver announced in Monza on Thursday. Massa, an 11-time race winner, will compete in his 250th and final Grand Prix at Abu Dhabi in November.

The 35-year-old Brazilian, who made his F1 debut with Sauber back in 2002, is in his third year with Williams, having joined the team in 2014, and has scored five podium finishes for the British squad.

Speaking about his 14 years at the pinnacle of motorsport, Massa said: “I must start by especially thanking my wife and my father, my whole family, my manager Nicolas and all the people who have supported me throughout my career. Thank you to God for giving me the opportunities I have had in life and, above all, for protecting me.

“A huge thank you as well to everyone I have worked with over the years. Every team I have been a part of has been a special experience, and not only in Formula One. I have so many great memories over the years and thank everyone in all the teams I have come through to help me get to where I am today.”

Massa scored points in just his second Grand Prix and was signed as a test driver by Ferrari for 2003, before returning to Sauber for two further seasons’ racing, which he combined with his testing duties for Maranello. This relationship paved the way for Ferrari’s driver academy, which was launched in 2009.

He graduated to a race seat with the Italian team in 2006, alongside seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, and took the first two of his career victories that season, finishing third in the world championship.

WATCH: Massa reminisces about his first F1 win

Massa came famously close to winning the drivers’ title with his final Grand Prix victory at his home race in 2008 - the last round of the season - when he led the standings with just half a lap to go, until Lewis Hamilton climbed enough places to dramatically deny him the crown.

In 2009 he suffered life-threatening injuries in a freak qualifying accident in Hungary, when a loose component from another car struck his helmet. He returned to the grid with Ferrari the following year, ultimately earning 139 starts for the Scuderia, making him the team’s second-longest serving driver ever, behind Schumacher.

“My career has been more than I ever expected and I am proud of what I have achieved,” Massa added. “Finally, it is a great honour to finish my career at such an amazing team as Williams Martini Racing. It will be an emotional day when I finally conclude my Formula One career with my 250th Grand Prix start in Abu Dhabi.”

Commenting on Massa’s decision to retire, deputy team principal Claire Williams commented: “It has been a pleasure to work with Felipe these past three seasons and we will all be sad to see him leave. Felipe came to us at a time of huge change and his blend of experience, talent and enthusiasm have been an important factor in the turnaround of the team.

“Anyone who knows Felipe knows what a warm and caring person he is, with an infectious personality. He has done a great deal for our sport over the years and I think every team that has had the pleasure of working with him has great affection for him. I know this has not been an easy decision for him, but we all respect his decision to bring his Formula One career to its conclusion at the end of this season.

"I would like to thank him, on behalf of all the team, for all his hard work over the last three years and we wish him the best of luck for whatever the future holds. He will always be a member of the Williams family and we hope that he will always feel welcome within our team.”

Williams have yet to comment on who will replace Massa - partnered by Valtteri Bottas this year - for next season.