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Williams has confirmed that Felipe Massa will leave the team at the end of the current 2017 Formula 1 season to retire, with no replacement named as of yet.
Having joined Williams in 2014, the 36-year-old Brazillian announced his retirement in 2016 but continued on for another season to partner rookie Lance Stroll, at Williams’ request. The outfit currently holds fifth in the constructors’ championship.
Massa has started 267 Grands Prix over his career, having taken 11 wins, 41 podiums and 16 poles over that time. His best position in the World Championship was second, in 2008, behind Lewis Hamilton. He will contest the final two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi for Williams.
“As everyone knows, after announcing my retirement from Formula One last year, I agreed to return this season to help Williams when the call came. I have now enjoyed four great years with the team, but my career in Formula One will finally come to an end this season,” said Massa in a statement.
“Once more, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this time: my wife and my father, my whole family, my manager Nicolas and all my friends, colleagues and sponsors. I would also like to add a huge thank you to all of the fans who have been incredibly supportive and passionate over the years. I take so many great memories with me as I prepare for my final two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, and although they will be emotional, I am looking forward to ending on a high note and preparing for a new chapter in my career.”
His debut came with Sauber in 2002, before Massa joined Ferrari four years later in a stint which lasted until 2013.
Williams reserve driver Paul di Resta and veteran Robert Kubica are in the frame to replace Massa, but the team may wait until the end of the season to name a replacement.
“I would like to thank Felipe for all he has done for the team over the last four years,” said deputy team principal Claire Williams. “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with him. We are especially grateful that he agreed to postpone his retirement from Formula One for a year, after Valtteri joined Mercedes, which demonstrated the depth of the relationship we built during our time together.
“We appreciate that it wasn’t an easy decision for him to return, after having such an emotional send-off at the end of last year. On behalf of Sir Frank, and all the team, we give our very best wishes to Felipe for the future.”
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