MONZA, Italy — With a dedication to mentor Michael Schumacher, Williams driver Felipe Massa announced Thursday that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the season.
The 35-year-old Brazilian said he chose to make the announcement at the Italian Grand Prix because that was where Schumacher made his retirement announcement a decade ago, which cleared the way for Massa to remain at Ferrari.
“The only way for me to stay was for him to stop,” Massa said. “He chose to give me this option to stay. (Italy) is my second country that I love and I think this is an important place to do this.”
Massa made the announcement at a news conference alongside deputy team principal Claire Williams.
“I’m more nervous now than all my race starts,” Massa 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. … It will be my last eight races in F1 that I will enjoy as much as I can.”
Massa’s contract expires at the end of this season.
In 14 seasons in F1, Massa has claimed 11 wins, 41 podiums and 16 pole positions. He made his debut with Sauber in 2002 and moved to Ferrari in 2006, alongside Schumacher.
Massa came agonizingly close to winning the drivers’ title in 2008, finishing one point behind Lewis Hamilton.
His career was slowed by a serious eye injury during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Massa is in his third season at Williams. He’s 10th in this season’s drivers’ standings.
“Apart from the talent and the speed he has on the track, he’s a great guy, very easygoing,” current Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel said. “So he’s going to be missed.”