Felipe Massa “is”, not “was”

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Felipe Massa is the man who stoically stood on the podium in Brazil in 2008 and with incredible control, congratulated Lewis Hamilton for the championship win. Felipe is a very good driver who was one of the longest team drivers for Ferrari. Felipe is a man who played a large part in the resurgence of Williams and Felipe is a man who represents teams and brands with terrific style and commitment.

In short, Felipe Mass is not a “WAS”, he “IS”.

The announcement today that Felipe Massa would be retiring form Formula 1 at the end of the 2016 season is probably no big surprise and it closes a chapter on his career defined by success and challenge but both with a magnanimous approach and a smile. Felipe has faced it all in F1, even life-threatening injury.

For me, Felipe IS a great driver and ambassador for the sport of motor racing and I am excited to see what he does next. Whether it’s racing in another series or simply being a father and husband. There is little doubt he’ll do either with much aplomb. He’s a great guy and having met Felipe a few times now, I can say that he is as likable a person as he seems. Very committed to his craft and the responsibilities that come with it.

To be honest, I think he would be a great person for Ferrari to have on staff like Marc Gene as an ambassador and key marketing person for sponsors and suppliers but Felipe will most likely have his own ideas about what he will do and how he will do it.

I’ve enjoyed Felipe’s entire career and keep in mind, he still has work to do as he IS a driver for Williams until the end of the season.

Williams official press release:

Felipe Massa has announced that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the 2016 season, after 14 years at the top level of the sport.

The 35-year-old Brazilian is in his third year with Williams, having joined the team in 2014, and is due to celebrate his 250th Grand Prix start at his final race in Abu Dhabi this year.

Felipe scored three podiums and one pole position on his way to seventh in the drivers’ standings in his first season with the team, helping Williams climb to third in the Constructors’ Championship.

Two further podiums followed in 2015 as Felipe finished sixth in the Drivers’ Championship and the team retained third place in the Constructors’. He is currently ninth in the 2016 championship.

Felipe made his F1 debut with Sauber back in 2002, scoring his first points in just his second race. He was signed as a test driver by Ferrari for 2003, before returning to Sauber for two further years alongside his testing duties with Ferrari. This relationship paved the way for Ferrari’s driver academy which was launched in 2009.

Felipe graduated to a race seat at Ferrari in 2006, alongside seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher. Felipe took the first two of his 11 career victories that season, finishing third in the world championship.

He came close to winning the 2008 World Championship with Ferrari, leading the standings with just half a lap of the final race of the season to go, until Lewis Hamilton climbed enough places to claim the title.

Felipe stayed with Ferrari up until he joined Williams in 2014, with his 139 starts for the Scuderia making him the team’s second-longest serving driver ever, behind Schumacher.

Felipe remains one of the most popular drivers in Formula One, especially so in his native Brazil, and in Italy following his 11-year stint with Ferrari, making it especially poignant that today’s announcement is taking place at the Italian Grand Prix.

Felipe 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. My career has been more than I ever expected and I am proud of what I have achieved. 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.”

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, Williams Martini Racing added: “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.”

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Mike

Wow, expected but its kinda of a weird shift. You know, you begin to fall into these grooves of what F1 racing ‘is’…the personalities and the teams. Each season I can’t wait for testing to start and then its the head-long rush through season and we then lament winter and can’t wait until Australia. All the time, life moves forward and as the magic age of 35 approaches, we forget that F1 will force a change we may not want in the cadence of our fan expectations. 3 things I will always remember…. I will always see Massa as a… Read more »

Negative Camber
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I suspect it’s all part of making room for Button. :)

Zachary Noepe
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Zachary Noepe

You may well be right, but for the life of me I don’t understand why Williams is so excited to pay this somewhat worn out old driver a fortune instead of getting paid a fortune they desperately need by a young driver who is probably faster and definitely won’t complain half as much. They have one experienced driver in Bottas.

Rapierman
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Rapierman

Maybe endurance racing would be his next gig.

JakobusVdL
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JakobusVdL

I’ve always thought Massa was a “class act’. Especially the way he responded after the cruel loss of the WDC in 2008. The recovery from the brain injury, dealing with the number 2 status to Alonso, and his resurgence with Williams.
I think Williams will struggle to find as able a replacement.
It’s great that he’s had the opportunity to retire from F1 on his own terms.
Ciao Filipe, good luck for the future!

Max Johnson
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Max Johnson

Technically is the 2008 champion without the Piquet crash..

jcn115
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jcn115

And his engine blowing up while leading in Turkey with a few laps to go and Timo Glock giving Lewis the position on the last corner of Brazilian GP.

Member

Was Not Was…sorry the musician in me couldn’t resist.