The Felipe Massa Williams move was confirmed yesterday, with the Brazilian driver set to follow in the footsetps of a number of his heroes when he sits behind the wheel for the once-dominant team in 2014.
As our Graham Caygill wrote ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Massa was not long ago a legitimate Formula One star, and very nearly world champion in 2008:
"Between 2007/08, nobody won more races than did Massa, who had nine victories and proved devastatingly quick in his Ferrari," but, "six years on, he is fighting to remain on the grid for next season. Ferrari have chosen to dispense with his services, ironically hiring Raikkonen to return to the team, after next month’s Brazilian Grand Prix."
Massa no longer has a place at Ferrari, but he'll at least have a drive next season with Williams. Here's the lowdown:
The 32-year-old Brazilian will end a run of eight years with Ferrari when the current campaign comes to a close in his home city of Sao Paulo later this month, but he will remain in Formula One after agreeing a deal with the Oxfordshire-based marque.
Fellow Brazilian Nelson Piquet won his third and final drivers’ championship with Williams in 1987, while Aytron Senna and Rubens Barrichello have also turned out for the team.
Massa, who has also raced for Sauber, is relishing the new challenge. “Williams is one of the most successful and important teams of all time in Formula One,” he said. “It is also nice to remember that some of the best Brazilian drivers raced for Williams and cemented a strong national link with the team. When I was a kid, I always dreamed about racing for Williams, Ferrari or McLaren, and I’m glad to be signing with another icon of the sport following my time at Ferrari.”
Williams have been uncompetitive so far this season, with Pastor Maldonado’s 10th-place finish in Hungary in July their only championship point to date, but Massa believes he is joining a strong outfit. “I’m really looking forward to having a good car. I’m happy to be here, I think I chose the right team,” he said.
Massa came close to securing the 2008 drivers’ world title during his time with the famous Italian manufacturer but lost out by a single point to Lewis Hamilton, who overtook Timo Glock on the final corner on the last lap of the season finale in Brazil to rob the home crowd of crowing another champion.