Brazilian F1 driver Felipe Massa to retire at end of 2016 season

The 35-year old Brazilian hangs up his helmet after 14 years in F1.

Williams Formula One driver Felipe Massa announced plans to retire at the end of the 2016 season ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. After 14 years in F1, the 35-year-old Brazilian driver competed in 242 races and won 11 grands prix over his tenure, placing him in the ranks as one of the most experienced drivers in the sport. The last race of the 2016 season in Abu Dhabi will be Massa's 250th race, capping off a career where the Brazilian drove for Sauber, Ferrari, and, most recently, Williams.

In an emotional video, which was posted on his Facebook, Massa confirmed that he would be leaving Formula One and provided some insight into his lengthy career.

The move to announce his retirement before the Italian Grand Prix was a premeditated decision as it was the same location where Michael Schumacher (who was a large influence on Massa) announced his retirement. Massa also spent numerous years behind the wheel of a Ferrari F1 car and came extremely close to winning the title in 2008 in one. The Italian Grand Prix, then, is the ideal spot for the announcement.

Massa's career, which the F1 driver claims has given him "great pride, joy and happiness," started in 2002 with the Swiss-based Sauber team. In his first season, Massa scored four championship points and went on to spend the following season as one of Ferrari's test drivers. For the 2004 season, Massa rejoined Sabuer's lineup alongside Giancarlo Fisichella, where he finished with a total of 12 championship points. The 2005 season was Massa's last with Sauber as the Brazilian was partnered with former champion Jacques Villeneuve, but still managed to score a total of 11 championship points.

The 2006 F1 season started the most successful part Massa's career. Massa partnered with the legendary Schumacher, where the Brazilian won his first F1 race in Turkey. Ferrari retained Massa for 2007 to drive with Schumacher's replacement, Kimi Raikkonen, who would go on to win the Driver's Championship by one point. The next year, 2008, was Massa's most memorable with the driver losing out on the championship by a single point to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

In 2009, Massa was involved in a life-threatening accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix where the driver was struck in the head by a loose spring from Rubens Barrichello's vehicle. After several days in a medically-induced coma, the driver spent the rest of the season recovering before returning in 2010 alongside Fernando Alonso.

Massa found it difficult to keep up with Alonso's blistering pace and was even forced to move aside for the Spaniard at the German Grand Prix. Massa would go on to finish sixth in the standings, roughly 100 points behind his teammate in second place.

After a difficult season, there were rumors that Massa would announce his retirement before the 2011 season, but the Brazilian persevered. But the season was just as difficult for the driver as he scored less than half of the points as Alonso. The following season started out with the same struggles for the driver, with Massa returning to the podium at Silverstone for the first time since 2010. In 2013, Ferrari announced Massa would be replaced by Raikkonen for the 2014 season.

Convinced that it wasn't his time to hang up his helmet, Massa signed with Williams in 2014 and has stayed with the team since. The year confirmed that Massa still had the magic he displayed at Ferrari and managed to score two podiums and finished sixth in the standings in 2015. Massa is currently in 10th place in the standings with 39 points.

Related Video:

Dramatic Crash During Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix | Autoblog Minute

Share This Photo X