Felipe Massa confirms he is to leave Ferrari at the end of this season
Brazilian's place at the team set to be taken by Kimi Raikkonen
By Pete Gill and James Galloway. Last Updated: 11/09/13 10:18am
Felipe Massa has confirmed he is to leave Ferrari at the end of the season.
The Brazilian's place at the Scuderia is set to be taken by Kimi Raikkonen, although an official announcement outlining the team's 2014 line-up is not expected until Wednesday.
Massa, who only narrowly avoided being dropped by Ferrari 12 months ago before earning a one-year contract extension, has endured a troubled campaign, finishing on the podium just once and garnering half the points of team-mate Fernando Alonso.
In a post to his followers on Twitter, the Brazilian confirmed:
From 2014 i will no longer be driving for Ferrari. I would like to thank the team for all the... http://t.co/ubhtiS79EE- Felipe1Massa (@Felipe1Massa) September 10, 2013
In an longer message on his Instagram page, which was posted alongside a picture of his victory celebrations from his home Brazilian GP in 2006, Massa said: "From 2014 I will no longer be driving for Ferrari. I would like to thank the team for all the victories and incredible moments experienced together.
"Thank you also to my wife and all of my family, to my fans and all my sponsors. From each one of you I have always received a great support!"
It remains to be seen whether the news of Massa's departure from Ferrari also marks the end of the veteran's career in F1. The 32-year-old could yet take Raikkonen's seat at Lotus in a straight swap deal. A return to Sauber may also emerge as a possibility if Lotus opt for the highly-rated Nico Hulkenberg.
"Right now I want to push as hard as possible with Ferrari for the remaining 7 races," Massa confirmed.
"For next year, I want to find a team that can give me a competitive car to win many more races and challenge for the Championship which remains my greatest objective! Thank you all. Felipe."
Were Massa to leave the sport, F1 in 2014 could be bereft of a Brazilian driver for the first time in over forty years.
Raikkonen, meanwhile, is understood to have signed a two-year deal with Ferrari, the team he left just four years ago as the Scuderia stood by Massa following his title near-miss of 2008 and a horrific accident in Hungary which caused him to miss the second half of the 2009 season.
Farewell Felipe: Massa's career at Ferrari
The Brazilian will end his Ferrari career as their second longest-serving driver in history, after Michael Schumacher, having joined the team as a race driver in 2006.
By then Massa had already been on Ferrari's books for five years having come to their attention during a dominant Euro Formula 3000 title-winning campaign in 2001, although it was with customer team Sauber that the then 20-year-old made his F1 race debut the following year.
Massa's Ferrari record
- Seasons: 2006-2013.
- Starts: 132.
- Wins: 11.
- Poles: 15.
- Podiums: 36
- Best Championship finish: 2nd (2008).
After a season in a test driver role at Ferrari, Massa returned to a race seat at Sauber for 2004-2005 before being recalled to Maranello to replace countryman Rubens Barrichello alongside Schumacher in what turned out to be the German's final season before his first retirement.
Having performed increasingly competitively alongside first Schumacher, and then the incoming Raikkonen, Massa emerged as Ferrari's lead runner in the 2008 campaign and was only denied the World Championship by Lewis Hamilton in the astonishing closing moments of his home Brazilian GP.
In 2009 the Brazilian sustained serious head injuries in qualifying at the Hungarian GP after an errant spring from the car ahead pierced his crash helmet, and although he missed the remainder of the season, Massa made a remarkably swift recovery and returned to action alongside new arrival Alonso the following season.
But while he outqualified his new team-mate at the first attempt on his return, Massa was swiftly cast into Alonso's shadow and since then has scored less than half the number of points collected by the Spaniard and failed to win a race, whereas Alonso has claimed 11 victories and been pipped to two world titles.