Felipe Massa has been a major force in Formula One ever since breaking onto the scene at Sauber in 2002. The Brazilian has enjoyed plenty of success over the years, finishing second to Lewis Hamilton in dramatic style on the final day of the 2008 season as well as helping Ferrari to win back-to-back Constructors’ World Championship awards in 07 and 08.
On September 1st, Massa announced that he would be retiring from Formula One at the end of the current campaign – a decision that was met with shock and despair across all four corners of the globe. In 2010, a FOTA-conducted survey found that Massa was voted by the fans as their fourth favourite driver in Formula One; and that helped Ferrari to emerge as the most popular team in the sport with supporters.
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 1, 2016
Williams haven’t been anywhere near as competitive this season but Massa has continued to defy the odds and is currently on track to secure yet another top 10 finish in the World Championship race. Prior to the 2016 campaign, the Brazilian had finished in the top 10 in nine of the last ten years – an impressive achievement to say the least.
As of September 2nd, Massa is valued at 4500/1 to win the Drivers title in the Championship betting odds but the Brazilian is in need of a minor miracle for this to happen. Instead, he will be fully focused on climbing up the leader board to cement his place in the top 10 – and he may help Williams climb up a few places in the Constructors’ standings too. After all, those extra few spots will help the team earn more prize money; and Massa will be desperate for an additional bonus before stepping away from the wheel.
Incredibly, the final race of the season will see Massa record his 250th appearance in a Grand Prix event; a phenomenal record. The 35-year-old will climb above the heroic David Coulthard in the all-time rankings for the total number of entries in Formula One. And while Massa has never won the title, he will go down in history with the likes of Rubens Barrichello as one of the best drivers to miss out on the coveted championship.
The Brazilian has failed to win a race since leaving Ferrari in 2013 but he has certainly been enjoying his driving under a fairly solid setup at Williams. His legacy at Williams will stay but it will be his 11 victories for the Italian team that will live long in the memory. After all, Massa will be remembered mostly for his time at Ferrari; whether that is alongside Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen or Fernando Alonso.
Massa will be remembered as one of Formula One’s nice guys – and rightly so. The 35-year-old has been a pivotal figure in motorsport in recent times and he has earned the right to sign out when the time is right for him. F1 fans will be sad to see Massa go but we will never forget his finest moments.