Felipe Massa says he is proud of his time as a Ferrari driver at the Brazilian prepares to bid farewell to the team in his home event his weekend in Sao Paulo.
Massa will leave Ferrari at the end of the year having been replaced by Kimi Raikkonen for 2014, with the 32-year-old having inked a deal that will see him move to Williams as a result.
With just one race left as part of the Scuderia
, Massa will hope to end the year with a strong showing in his home race but regardless of the result, he said he was proud of his time with the Maranello-based outfit.
“I'd like to be remembered as an important component of the Ferrari team,” he said. “We had great times together, winning races and championships and we also lived through some difficult moments. I am proud to be part of Ferrari's history. It was always my dream to drive for Ferrari and I did it for ten years, eight of them as a race driver. Actually, I had a contract with Ferrari even before then, when I was just a kid really.
“It's been a long time during which I always gave my all for the team. For my final race with them, I also need to say thanks to all the fans who have supported me throughout this time with Ferrari. They really feel part of the Ferrari world and the Ferrari family. With those fans I have celebrated many great moments and, on the other hand, when I was going through tough times, they gave me so much energy and support. It will be very emotional racing at Interlagos for Ferrari for the final time.”
Interlagos was the scene of Massa's last victory for Ferrari in the 2008 season finale, when he momentarily looked like lifting the championship crown.
It marked his second win in Sao Paulo, with his first having come back in 2006 in his first year with the team.
“I didn't win the title [in 2008], but I did win the race and also took pole position and set the fastest lap of the race,” he said. “So I did everything perfectly that weekend, which made it very special as well.
"Winning there is a feeling that is hard to describe. Winning here in 2006, in my first year with Ferrari was definitely the most incredible race of my life.
"I had a special race suit featuring the yellow and green colours of our national flag and standing on the top step of the podium was more than I had ever expected from my life. For a Brazilian to win this race, it's like winning the world title. It was the most emotional race of my life and I remember it as though it was yesterday. It really was the realisation of a dream."