Massa out at Williams and out of F1

8

Well, you’re not going to have Felipe Massa around to cheer for in 2018 at William F1. According to the team, the Brazilian will retire…again…at the end of the season. At least from Williams F1.

I’ve met Felipe several times and he’s a very nice guy and it’s sad to see him go but this must mean that the team have other options they are getting ready to announce. Could it be Di Resta, Ericsson, Kubica, Wehrlein or Kvyat? Or someone else entirely?

As I look back on Felipe’s career at Williams, I do think he was very helpful in their progress forward. the team were peaking with a new engine supply from Mercedes and Felipe as a terrific asset but times change and every F1 driver eventually leaves and “That’s a…rock fact”.

Here’s the Williams Press release:

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING confirms that Felipe Massa will leave the team at the end of the 2017 Formula One season.

Felipe made his debut with Williams in 2014. During the last four years, he has helped the team secure third place in the Constructors’ Championship in 2014 and 2015, and fifth place in 2016.  After initially indicating he would retire at the end of last year, he returned at Williams’ request for the 2017 season, and the team currently stands fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.

Felipe Massa said: “As everyone knows, after announcing my retirement from Formula One last year, I agreed to return this season to help Williams when the call came. I have now enjoyed four great years with the team, but my career in Formula One 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.”

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, Williams Martini Racing added: “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 One for a year, after Valtteri joined Mercedes, which demonstrated the depth of the relationship we built during our time together. We appreciate that it wasn’t an easy decision for him to return, after having such an emotional send-off at the end of last year. On behalf of Sir Frank, and all the team, we give our very best wishes to Felipe for the future.”

The team will announce its 2018 driver line-up in due course.

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Graeme Fuller

Just to throw out another name what about the kiwi Brendan Hartley, he is over 25, has a super licence, although I saw he has an Indy car deal, but I don’t know any more about it, or how solid that deal is. I would also be happy for Kubica. I see Hartley as the dark horse in this. What I don’t know is whether Williams are looking for a driver with money or a driver over 25 re Stroll. I wonder whether any other WEC are also super licence holders? Apart from those names and the couple of others,… Read more »

Tom Firth

Hartley should be with Toro Rosso next year, as he currently is. They’ve effectively bought/negotiated him out of his upcoming IndyCar contract with Ganassi, which indicates they intend to keep him for next season as the deal wouldn’t have started until next year.

Other WEC drivers who would be eligible for one, if are not current holders:

Seb Buemi
Andre Lotterer
Neel Jani
Marcel Fassler
Kazuki Nakajima
Loic Duval
Timo Bernhard
Anthony Davidson
Jose Maria Lopez (I think)

Lucas Di Grassi and Ben Treluyer formally of WEC LMP1, are eligible too.

Graeme Fuller

Great list Tom, well done.

Salvu Borg

The topmost consideration at Williams will be as it always was in later years, “What he brings with him”.

Dancing_Horse

Its a real shame to see, once more, a great driver like Massa being denied over and over all the way through two endings. Although he had always what it takes to be a champion and 2008 being the greatest of times for Massa. It was however denied due to what I feel was, bad sportsmanship. Timo Glock, who was a good friend to Hamilton throughout their early careers in motor sports, allowed Hamilton to pass in the last few seconds of the last lap to win the 2008 Championship, when in reality it was very deserving to Massa, who… Read more »

jakobusvdl

While he was a sensible call for Williams when Bottas got the last minute call to Mercedes. The year hasn’t been great for Massa and hasn’t enhanced his reputation or legacy. A lot of that has been due to a very average Williams that hasn’t improved in the last two seasons. I doubt the farewell in Rio next week is going to match the incredible spectacle of his farewell last year, so there is a chance he’ll go out with a bit of a whimper. That would be a shame for a guy who was at one stage (2007/8/9) an… Read more »

Mark Walker

Don’t count him out just yet. Remember last year when you thought (were sure) he retired.

jakobusvdl

It would be great to see him stay, but what extraordinary sequence of events is going to occur to keep him in a seat this time?
Hamilton/Bottas/Vettel/Raikkonen/Alonso retire, A new Team join the grid, Berndt Mylander quits driving the safety car?