Felipe Massa has said that he hopes his exit from Maranello will not go unnoticed as he ends a long tenure as Ferrari's number two and heads for Williams next year.
The Brazilian's spell with the Prancing Horse has been ended by the decision to re-sign Kimi Raikkonen as partner to Fernando Alonso – effectively abandoning the 'clear number one' policy that has been in effect at the Scuderia since well before either of the current line-up settled in. During his eight-year career, Massa has frequently been asked to act in the better interests of his team-mate – be it Alonso, Raikkonen or Michael Schumacher – and hopes that Ferrari remembers that.
“I hope [they miss me],” he told journalists ahead of his final weekend in scarlet, “For sure, it's not part of my thinking. I've tried to do the best in my career, so I really hope Ferrari can have a good future as well, so I have nothing really to complain about. We have had a very good time together and I hope I can have a fantastic future in a different team - and I hope it's the same for Ferrari.
“I think Ferrari is a dream for all the drivers. I remember that one of the first go-karts I had was red, my first overall was red, so I was always supporting Ferrari as a kid. Racing eight years for Ferrari is definitely a dream come true but [going to Williams] is another re-start for my career. I'm really happy and looking forward to my future in a different team.”
Massa, who cites being told to move aside for Alonso in Germany a year after his near-fatal accident as a career low, admitted that signing with Williams and extending his F1 career when many thought that exiting Ferrari would also mean leaving the sport was good for his morale.
“I really believe I can do a lot with Williams,” he said, despite the Grove team having amassed all of five points this season, “Everything is changing, with brand new rules for the championship, so I think it's also a good time that we start something new and different.
“You never know, you're doing a good job in a team that also has all the infrastructure to do everything inside the company to do a good car. Everything is possible. They believe in me, so I'm really happy and motivated to drive for them, to work and to do everything I can to help the team to be competitive again, which I'm sure everything is possible.”
As the only Brazilian driver currently in the top flight, Massa also agreed that his new deal was important for a country that has been a staple of the F1 paddock.
“It's very important,” he stressed, “We know how important Brazil is in F1: the history for so many drivers, so many championships, so many victories. For Brazil, F1 is very important. We have motor racing in the blood, so, it's very, very important to keep Brazilian drivers in F1. We're not having a great time in the small categories, so I think it's important to give a push and help for our future because, for the moment, it doesn't look very nice.”
Ending his relationship with Ferrari on home soil is particularly emotional for Massa, who celebrated possibly his happiest moment with the Prancing Horse at Interlagos.
“I would say it was, I think, the first time I won in Brazil, in 2006, with the green and yellow overalls,” he smiled, “I think that was definitely the best moment for me. You know how important it is for a Brazilian to win at home. If you remember well, [Ayrton] Senna was more happy to win in Brazil than to win a championship, so you can see how important it is for a Brazilian to win here.”