Felipe Massa to retire at the end of 2016 season (updated)

felipe massa williamsBrazilian F1 veteran Felipe Massa will be hanging up his driving gloves at the end of the current season. The driver’s 13 year-long career will probably stand as one of the most accomplished if not the most awe-inspiring. Starting originally as a Sauber driver in 2002, after three seasons, he was promoted to Ferrari as Michael Schumacher’s team-mate.

His extensive Ferrari tenure (from 2006 till 2013) was his most impressive bringing him many podiums, including 11 race victories. However, people will probably (sadly) remember Massa’s tenure for the many troubles and obstacles in his way, such as losing out the 2008 championship to Lewis Hamilton in the very final race of the season, as well as being taken out of the 2009 season after an accident in Hungary involving a loose spring hitting his helmet.

His last three seasons have been at Williams, where his performance has been disappointingly uneven. Okay, so a vast majority of this is down to bad luck, with Massa amounting many retirements due to accidents and mechanical problems. In 2014 and 2015 though, he snagged several podiums on his good days, his best result being a 2nd place finish in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix of 2014.

This season has been very underwhelming for the Williams team and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that Massa wants to leave. I’ve always been quite fond of him as a driver and I will miss him. Whoever ends up replacing him at Williams next year will have huge boots to fill.

(No F1 Career in a Nutshell segment yet, I’ll wait until the end of the season.)

Update (January 17, 2017): Due to Massa cancelling his retirement following Bottas’s move to Mercedes, I’ve removed his Career in a Nutshell blog. A new one will be created for him when he finally will actually retire.