Massa an­nounces his re­tire­ment

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - Pho­tos: LAT

News of But­ton’s sab­bat­i­cal has now made Wil­liams the key to next year’s driver mar­ket, with Felipe Massa an­nounc­ing his re­tire­ment from the sport dur­ing the Ital­ian GP week­end.

Massa told re­porters on Thurs­day that he would hang up his hel­met at the end of this sea­son, amid spec­u­la­tion the Grove out­fit was not look­ing to re­tain him along­side Valt­teri Bot­tas next term.

Massa, an 11-time GP win­ner, said: “Af­ter 27 years of my rac­ing ca­reer, since I started kart­ing and with 15 years in F1, this will be my last sea­son in F1. I’m so proud to have been part of this team. Wil­liams had a dif­fi­cult mo­ment and then we man­aged to get amaz­ing re­sults in the last two cham­pi­onships.

“I have been here for 15 years, so I want to leave this pad­dock with my head up, not down, which is very im­por­tant, that’s the way I am.”

Massa opted to an­nounce his re­tire­ment at Monza, the same place in which his ex-fer­rari team-mate Michael Schu­macher first an­nounced his ini­tial re­tire­ment 10 years ear­lier.

“I choose this place be­cause 10 years ago Michael an­nounced his re­tire­ment here. The only way for me to stay [at Fer­rari for 2007] was for him to stop. He chose to give me this op­tion to stay.”

Massa came within a cor­ner of win­ning the 2008 world cham­pi­onship for Fer­rari.

Claire Wil­liams added: “He is a true gen­tle­man. We were so lucky he joined for 2014. We were a team in dire straights, we needed some­one to come and be part of the team.”

But­ton had been tipped to re­turn to Wil­liams, the squad at which he be­gan his F1 ca­reer in 2000. With him out of the run­ning, the team has been linked with both Force In­dia’s Ser­gio Perez and Sauber racer Felipe Nasr.

Massa will be re­tir­ing

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