Mugello, 10 November – An unforgettable day. Felipe Massa’s farewell parade in front of the Ferrari crowd will always stay in the Brazilian’s heart. Over fifteen thousand turned up to give him a send-off, braving the less than welcoming weather, given that it rained heavily for much of the day. They turned out to see Felipe at the very same track where he had his first Formula 1 test, for Sauber way back in 2001. After twelve years, the end of an important page in the history books for Felipe the man and for the team he grew up with, is gradually coming to an end, as he still has the USA and Brazilian Grands Prix to race for the Scuderia.
“I’ve been lucky, I have had a great career with Ferrari, longer than I had ever dreamed of at the start,” said Felipe when he met the press. “When I began racing in go-karts as a kid, I had a red Ferrari suit and it’s always been the team I supported. Even when Senna was at McLaren and Piquet at Williams, I was cheering for Ferrari! We began our relationship in 2001 and I have raced for them for eight seasons, which is a very important part of my life. I have so many friends at Ferrari and I will miss them, as I will also miss the nice days I spent at the factory in Maranello. I am happy with the way my time with the Prancing Horse turned out.”
Yesterday’s tribute took place at the owners’ gala dinner at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence, which was opened by Felipe arriving in a Formula 1 car and ended with a ten minute standing ovation, while today it continued in front of all the fans at Mugello. “These are memories that will stay with me always, just like so many other beautiful moments spent together, starting with the wins,” continued Felipe. “For example, I think back to the wins at Interlagos, because for a Brazilian, to win your home race is something amazing. Sure, the dream just slipped out of my grasp, namely winning the world title in front of my home crowd, but that wasn’t the race where I lost the 2008 title: when you finish second by a point the key moment could have come at so many different places and I’m thinking of Singapore for example, or Budapest, or others still…”
It’s not just memories that Felipe will take home with him. At the end of his demonstration run at the wheel of an F10, which he drove alongside another veteran, Marc Gene, President Luca di Montezemolo, Vice President Piero Ferrari and Managing Director Amedeo Felisa presented the Brazilian driver with a special cup, engraved with the names of the eleven Grands Prix he won during his time in red. It’s a rather bulky piece of silverware, as the cup stands 120 centimetres tall, but we are sure Felipe will find it a prominent position at home and metaphorically in his heart.