Outgoing Ferrari driver Felipe Massa proud of 'great times' he has had at Maranello
Brazilian GP marks end of Felipe's 139-race Ferrari career
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 21/11/13 10:21am
Felipe Massa has said he will look back at his years at Ferrari with pride, as the Brazilian gears up for his Scuderia swansong this weekend on home soil.
After eight seasons as a race driver, and more than a decade on the Maranello outfit's books, Massa is being released at the end of the year to make way for his returning former team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Massa, who has since signed a deal to continue in F1 with Williams for 2014, is Ferrari's second long-serving driver in history after Michael Schumacher while his 11 wins in red put him joint fourth alongside current stable-mate Fernando Alonso on the famous marque's all-time victory list.
And the 32-year-old, who came within a point of defeating Lewis Hamilton to the Drivers' Championship five years ago and helped Ferrari to back-to-back Constructors' successes in 2007-2008, admits he has lived out his boyhood dream.
"I'd like to be remembered as an important component of the Ferrari team," Massa told Ferrari's official website.
"We had great times together, winning races and championships and we also lived through some difficult moments.
"I am proud to be part of Ferrari's history. It was always my dream to drive for Ferrari and I did it for ten years, eight of them as a race driver. Actually, I had a contract with Ferrari even before then, when I was just a kid really. It's been a long time during which I always gave my all for the team.
"It will be very emotional racing at Interlagos for Ferrari for the final time."
Fittingly, Massa's long and distinguished Ferrari career will conclude at his home grand prix, an event he won in 2006 and 2008 and then returned to the podium at last year.
The Brazilian admits that first victory at the end of his debut season at Maranello, when he wore special national-themed overalls, still stands out seven years on.
"Winning there is a feeling that is hard to describe. Winning here in 2006, in my first year with Ferrari was definitely the most incredible race of my life," he explained.
"I had a special race suit featuring the yellow and green colours of our national flag and standing on the top step of the podium was more than I had ever expected from my life. For a Brazilian to win this race, it's like winning the world title. It was the most emotional race of my life and I remember it as though it was yesterday. It really was the realisation of a dream."