In November of 2016, Williams Formula One driver Felipe Massa walked to pit lane with his home flag draped on his shoulders during a rainy Brazilian Grand Prix. He’d just wrecked out of his final home race, and cried as the crowd and other teams honored his retirement. He was back in an F1 car two months later.
But Massa will retire from F1 this year, for real. Massa himself even said “this time” the F1 season finale will be his last race. He announced his retirement via Twitter on Saturday, with video messages including this English version:
Massa came back to Williams for 2017 after announcing his retirement at the end of the 2016 season, since Mercedes swiped Williams driver Valtteri Bottas to fill its open seat. Mercedes had a spot thanks to 2016 champion Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement, and the team left Williams with an open seat instead.
Massa’s official announcement comes just in time for his last race in his home country of Brazil, where his incredibly teary and emotional retirement walk happened last year. But it may be harder for us onlookers to cry this time, knowing that Massa turned around and got in a race car again after last year.
Autosport reports that Massa’s retirement decision is partly due to Williams’ lack of a commitment to him for 2018, with several candidates for his race seat all participating in test sessions. From Autosport:
The Brazilian has scored 36 points this season, four fewer than team-mate Lance Stroll, and had said he was keen to stay on for a 16th season, but would only do so with Williams.
But Williams has been in no rush to announce who will partner Stroll next year, with Robert Kubica, its reserve Paul di Resta, Pascal Wehrlein and Massa in contention.
Massa said he was keen to know the team’s decision before his home race in Brazil, which takes place next weekend, and has become increasingly outspoken on the matter.
If anything, Massa gets a redo on his “last home race” in Brazil. Hopefully, it’ll be a little less rainy—and a little less wreck-y, for him—this time.