Felipe Massa has hinted that he may take stock of his F1 career when his current Williams contract expires at the end of 2016.
Last weekend's Mexican Grand Prix was the Brazilian's 229th appearance – and 227th start – in a top flight career that has taken him from Sauber to Williams via a lengthy stint at Ferrari, and the prospect of retirement has been put to him on more than one occasion in recent seasons. After something of a rebirth at Williams last year, however, the veteran, who currently sits tenth on the all-time starts list, is under contract through of the end of 2016, but accepts that that might be the ideal time to see what the future holds.
“I think I will stay in F1 if I have a team who I am really happy to work with, like Williams,” he reasoned, “They are happy to have me in the team so, when you love to work, you feel important. This is what gives me more motivation to carry on.
“Maybe next year is my last year of my contract, so I think next year will be the most important year to understand if I carry on or not. If I have the opportunity to stay competitive, in a nice team, then I'll stay. Otherwise, I'll stop.”
Insisting, as he has done in the past, that he would not be prepared to drop down the grid just to extend his F1 career, Massa refused to rule out racing in other series – although NASCAR would not be on the list because 'you're racing every week and my family would kill me'…
“I think the competition, the fighting against yourself with the lap-time to improve, to learn things, fighting against the others, this is what gives us the pleasure,” he explained, “I don't believe I will be afraid to stop - I think you need to understand that everybody has their time - but I don't think that has arrived yet.
“If I still want to race, I will race for sure. The problem is that you stop in F1 very young, and I think you don't really lose the pleasure to race, so maybe I will keep racing.”