When this popular, respected racer announced his retirement, his paddock peers couldn’t wait to get his views on a variety of subjects
In an emotional press conference at Monza, Felipe Massa revealed that this season of F1, his 14th, will be his last. Massa, 35, chose to make the announcement at the Italian GP, just as his great friend and Ferrari mentor Michael Schumacher had done 10 years earlier.
For eight seasons Massa was a Ferrari racer and scored all of his 11 wins with the Scuderia. Two landmarks stand out in his career: the championship he held for a matter of seconds until Lewis Hamilton passed Timo Glock at the nal corner of the 2008 Brazilian GP to snatch the title from Massa’s grasp; and the accident that nearly cost him his life.
Massa sat out the second half of 2009 after he was injured by a spring that broke off Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn during qualifying for the Hungarian GP. A year later, on the anniversary of that accident, he was leading in Germany when the now infamous call came through from race engineer Rob Smedley: “Felipe, Fernando is faster than you. Do you conrm you understand that message?” Dutifully he pulled over and won many admirers that day for his dignied response – just as he had the day he lost the title.
When Massa, now into his third season at Williams, bids farewell at the end of the year, it will be an emotional occasion. Like Jenson Button, he has enjoyed a long career in the sport and commands great respect from his peers.
To demonstrate that, we’re marking his retirement with a special twist on our ‘You Ask The Questions’ format, in which the questions come from the great and the good of Formula 1. Whatever Massa does next, he’ll be remembered in F1 for his good grace and sportsmanship. We’ll miss his sense of humour, his passion and his ever-present family. With that in mind, what better place to begin than this query from his former Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso…
Your son Felipinho plays football very well. When he grows up, would you rather he became a footballer or an F1 driver? Fernando Alonso F1 world champion in 2005 and 2006 I would say a football player is much better since that will be a lot cheaper for me! I’ve already told him that if he wants to play football, I’ll pay for that budget. But if he wants to be an F1 driver, then I’ll be really restricted in money – and he’ll have to nd a sponsor.
Felipe, Formula 1 world champion or the winning goal scorer for Brazil in a World Cup Final – which would you choose? Pat Symonds Chief technical ofcer, Williams Well, I have to say Formula 1 world champion – that has always been my dream and, actually, Brazil have won everything in football already. We are the only country who have won the World Cup ve times and now we also have the Olympic gold for football, achieved this summer in Brazil.
What was the most important lesson you learnt during your rst season in F1? Jo Ramírez Former McLaren team co-ordinator In my rst season I learnt a massive amount. I was only 20 years old, which was really young. I had no experience in F1 prior to coming into a race, all I had was a few tests at the end of 2001. I was always very quick, very competitive, but I was just a kid and all I wanted was to go as