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Published: 13:20 | 1/9/16

Massa to retire from Formula 1

Brazilian to bow out at end of season

Felipa Massa is to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2016 season.

Massa has been in Formula 1 since 2002 and he will celebrate his 250th Grand Prix start at his final race in Abu Dhabi later this year.

The Brazilian began his Formula 1 career with Sauber and collected his first points in just his second race. He remained with Sauber while he acted as Ferrari's test driver before graduating to a race seat at Ferrari in 2006.

Driving alongside seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, Massa took the first two of his 11 career victories to finish third in the world championship.

He was to go even closer to the drivers' title two years later when he narrowly missed out to Lewis Hamilton. Indeed, he was leading the standings with just half a lap of the season to go, only for Hamilton to come through to clinch the title in dramatic circumstances.

After 139 starts for the Scuderia, Massa left Ferrari to join Williams in 2014.

“I must start by especially thanking my wife and my father, my whole family, my manager Nicolas and all the people who have supported me throughout my career," Massa said.

"Thank you to God for giving me the opportunities I have had in life and, above all, for protecting me. A huge thank you as well to everyone I have worked with over the years.

"Every team I have been a part of has been a special experience, and not only in Formula One. I have so many great memories over the years and thank everyone in all the teams I have come through to help me get to where I am today.

"My career has been more than I ever expected and I am proud of what I have achieved. Finally, it is a great honour to finish my career at such an amazing team as Williams Martini Racing. It will be an emotional day when I finally conclude my Formula One career with my 250th Grand Prix start in Abu Dhabi.”

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, Williams Martini Racing added: “It has been a pleasure to work with Felipe these past three seasons and we will all be sad to see him leave.

"Felipe came to us at a time of huge change and his blend of experience, talent and enthusiasm have been an important factor in the turnaround of the team. Anyone who knows Felipe knows what a warm and caring person he is, with an infectious personality.

"He has done a great deal for our sport over the years and I think every team that has had the pleasure of working with him has great affection for him. I know this has not been an easy decision for him, but we all respect his decision to bring his Formula One career to its conclusion at the end of this season.

"I would like to thank him, on behalf of all the team, for all his hard work over the last three years and we wish him the best of luck for whatever the future holds. He will always be a member of the Williams family and we hope that he will always feel welcome within our team.”

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