Felipe Massa has thanked Ferrari for the support he received after his life-threatening accident during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Brazilian sat out the second half of the ’09 season, but returned for a further four campaigns before the team decided to replace him with Kimi Raikkonen for 2014.
Speaking on his final official engagement with the team at Ferrari’s Christmas party, Williams-bound Massa thanked those who he worked with for their commitment.
“We started together so many years ago and I want to thank all of you: mechanics, engineers, everyone who works at the track and behind the scenes in Maranello,” said Massa. “Each one of you has always given me so much support, especially in the most difficult moments and I will never forget what Ferrari did for me when I had my accident in 2009.
“It’s in these circumstances that one understands what it means to be really loved and the atmosphere at Ferrari and the unique feeling of being part of the family is something I will miss a lot.”
Massa also paid tribute to Stefano Domenicali, who took over as team principal after the 2007 season.
“I look on you as my big brother,” added Massa. “I thank you for everything you have done for me and for the opportunities you and the President [Luca di Montezemolo] have given me.”
Massa also bid a light-hearted farewell to teammate Fernando Alonso, saying “we will meet again on track and this time I will try not to let you through.”
MASSA AT FERRARI
After eight seasons with Ferrari, Massa has established himself as its most successful non-world champion driver.
1 Michael Schumacher, 72
2 Niki Lauda, 15
3 Alberto Ascari, 13
4 Felipe Massa/Fernando Alonso, 11
6 Rubens Barrichello, 9
Most pole positions
1 Michael Schumacher, 58
2 Niki Lauda, 23
3 Felipe Massa, 15
4 Alberto Ascari, 13
5 Jacky Ickx, 11
6 Rubens Barrichello, 11
1 Michael Schumacher, 179
2 Felipe Massa, 139
3 Rubens Barrichello, 102
4 Gerhard Berger, 96
5 Michele Alboreto, 80
6 Jean Alesi, 79
Most starts with Ferrari engine
1 Felipe Massa, 191*
2 Michael Schumacher, 179
3 Jean Alesi, 111*
4 Rubens Barrichello, 102
5 Gerhard Berger, 96
6 Michele Alboreto, 89
*Tally includes starts using Petronas-badged Ferrari engines