I came back to be competitive – Massa

2017 F1 season

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Felipe Massa revealed the discussions which led to him cancelling his F1 retirement began to just days after he said farewell to Williams at the team’s Christmas party.

Speaking after the first day of testing for his 15th season in F1, Massa explained how Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement led him to cancel his.

“I didn’t call anybody,” said Massa. “If anybody wants to talk to me they need to call me. So that’s exactly what happened.”

Testing day one in pictures
“I was just waiting and trying to see, following the media, and then it happened. Actually it happened two days after I had the Christmas party with the team saying ‘bye-bye’ to everybody.”

“And then I received first of all an SMS from Claire [Williams]. She was just writing if I would accept to stop my retirement. And I said ‘I think we need to talk’. And then she called me straight away so we spoke.”

“Then I took the plane to England to speak with her. We had a very long conversation. It took a little bit of time to be a hundred percent clear which was not just due to myself but because there were so many things around with Mercedes, with Valtteri [Bottas], with me.”

“I just followed my heart, followed all the messages I got from my friends, my family. So I didn’t really see any message saying ‘don’t do it’. I just followed my heart, that’s what I love to do.”

Massa said he would only have accepted returning to F1 with a competitive team.

“I was for sure not ready to carry on in Formula One just to be part of the grid,” he said. “If I work somewhere I need to work in the place that I feel important, that maybe I can be competitive.”

“It’s impossible to say for the moment where we are and how it’s going to be this season. I took this decision to carry on because I found the possibility to stay in the professional direction.”

Massa had an emotional farewell in Brazil
Massa said his family fully backed his decision, joking “you guys have the wrong idea about my wife!”

“I remember when I told her I was going to stop she was a little bit surprised because normally that’s what I did all my life, so what are you going to do now?”

However he admitted to having some reservations about coming back following his emotional departure from the sport at the end of last year.

“I never saw a driver that had an amazing retirement like me. Everything that happened in Brazil, even in Abu Dhabi, so I had a lot of nice feeling from the people. So then I said ‘OK I did my retirement, now I’m coming back’ so it was not easy for me.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “I came back to be competitive – Massa”

  1. All heart :) happy to see him go around one more time

  2. Felipe definitely had a competitive first day!Hopefully this season can be a better one,perhaps including a podium!

  3. Welcome back Felipe, watching F1 and not being able to root for you would just not feel right! Best of luck, Racer Norriski

  4. We need a new Brasilian driver to continue this lineage after Felipe retires for good. And by lineage I mean this one:
    Barrichello -> Massa -> ???
    Because if you look at their careers and longetivity, they pretty much walked the same path. Also, their amicable personalities made it seem as if for the last 25 years we’ve always had that one feisty Brasilian that you couldn’t not cheer for.

    1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      27th February 2017, 20:28

      Both were too nice for their own good imho, narrowly missing out on WDC’s because they just weren’t ruthless enough. Perhaps Felipe Nasr can continue their legacy more successfully.

      1. @offdutyrockstar
        No, let’s be honest here – neither of them were/are championship caliber drivers. Both were lucky to play the second fiddle to Schumacher at Ferrari.

        1. @damon give Massa some credit. He went from Number 2 to Michael, to Number 2 to newly arrived Raikkonen (who snatched the title in his first try) to Number 1 in his own right. He was supreme that year, except for the occasional rainy race. And he came oh so close to winning the championship. You might say Spa’s decision that year limited Hamilton’s chances but Singapore limited Felipe’s.

          Rubens was stuck behind Michael and Michael alone, and while Massa enjoyed a more relaxed partnership with Kimi, he had other rivals in other teams to fight against as well.

          1. As much as I like Barrichello, who was capable of delivering one of the best ever F1 wins – Germany 2000, he was never consistent enough, and despite his two runner up spots with Ferrari, he was never in the title fight. His best shot was in 2009, and he ended third in that championship

            Massa, on the other hand, had one good (2007) and two great seasons (2008 and 2009), until the accident.

            He is pretty much on Raikkonen’s level: just below the top tier (Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen), but people than to underrate him due to his late Ferrari years, forgetting how he beat Raikkonen and how Kimi was equally destroyed by Alonso in Ferrari.

            Brazilian single seater racers are in short supply right now, so our best chance stands with one of the dynasties: Piquet or Fittipaldi.

        2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
          2nd March 2017, 3:22

          Damon, neither was Rosberg but a dominant car and skewed reliability can give a 2nd tier driver a WDC sometimes.

  5. Massa didn’t come back to be competitive. He came back to fill a void. Too bad they didn’t have enough time to prepare and put a more deserving driver in that seat.

  6. “I didn’t really see any message saying ‘don’t do it’ ”

    He didn’t want to see them, because they were plenty. We love you, Felipe, so that’s why we felt it was a bad idea. It was time to move on.

  7. Better younger drivers out there feeling low because of guys like Massa and Pay-as-you-go top up drivers.

  8. For sure he wouldn’t have quit after winning the WDC, especially if he was in a dominant car.

    I’d rather see Felipe back on the grid than that quitter Rossberg, at least Felipe genuinely respects the effort and commitment put in by the rest of the team, as they do him as evidenced by that heartfelt pit walk.

  9. I think he is the best Brazilian driver since Senna and has done very well (as a whole, technically and on pure speed basis) for the teams he has driven for.
    And if Bottas manages to match Lewis, that is only going to enhance Massa’s reputation.

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