Felipe Massa has explained his reasons behind choosing to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2016 season, marking an end of his 15-year career in the sport as he focuses on leaving 'with my head up'.

The Brazilian driver, who had spells with Sauber and Ferrari and came to within a point of winning the 2008 world title, called time on his F1 career and will leave the sport at the end of the season, with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marking his 250th and final race.

Felipe Massa announces retirement from F1

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The 11-time Grand Prix winner says he wanted to maintain the power of deciding when to end his driving career in F1 and leave with fond memories while still competing at the sharp end of the grid.

"The most important reason is related to my career, it's related to these 15 years of Formula One, 27 years of my career since I started in go-karts, everything I've passed through to get here at this moment and this time," Massa said. "These cars have something to do with everything, your position in the championship, your performance, some things around Formula 1, some rules, it's part of that.

"I have been here for 15 years, so I want to leave this paddock with my head up, not down, which is very important, that's the way I am and the way I want to be, and also remembered."

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As well as being remember as successful, Massa took time to reflect on the memories with friends and at special races, while also making his home nation of Brazil proud of his time competing in F1.

"Money, which definitely was part of my whole career until I got to Formula One, to find the money to race that I didn't have," he said. "Then when you put all the results and everything that you managed to achieve, all the friends, all the races, all the experiences, everything I passed through, everything makes you emotional at the end.

"Also, the flag of my country is what I always tried to put as high as I could, which is another emotion."

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