FAREWELL MASSA! Felipe Massa has announced his retirement from F1. He started racing in F1 in 2002 and has won 11 grands prix for Ferrari. Image: AP / Ricardo Mazalan
Italy - With a dedication to mentor Michael Schumacher, Williams driver Felipe Massa has announced on Thursday that he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2016 season.The 35-year-old Brazilian said he chose to make the announcement at the 2016 Italian Grand Prix because that was where Schumacher made his retirement announcement a decade ago, which cleared the way for Massa to remain at Ferrari.
Massa said: "The only way for me to stay was for him to stop. He chose to give me this option to stay. (Italy) is my second country that I love and I think this is an important place to do this."
Veteran to retire
He said: "Every team I have been a part of has been a special experience, and not only in F1.
"It will be an emotional day when I finally conclude my F1 career with my 250th grand prix start in Abu Dhabi."
Tribute to Schumi
Massa said: "I'm more nervous now than all my race starts. After 27 years of my racing career, since I started karting and with 15 years in F1, this will be my last season in F1. ... It will be my last eight races in F1 that I will enjoy as much as I can."
Massa's contract expires at the end of this season.
In 14 seasons in F1, Massa has claimed 11 wins, 41 podiums and 16 pole positions. He made his debut with Sauber in 2002 and moved to Ferrari in 2006, alongside Schumacher.
Massa came agonizingly close to winning the drivers' title in 2008, finishing one point behind Lewis Hamilton.
His career was slowed by a serious eye injury during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Massa is in his third season at Williams. He's 10th in this season's drivers' standings.
Meanwhile, Kevin Magnussen has been cleared to race this weekend at Monza, mere days after his huge crash at Spa's fabled Eau Rouge corner last Sunday.