Massa: From 2014 I will no longer be driving for Ferrari

Felipe Massa on the occasion of his last win for Ferrari at the 2008 Brazilian GP

Felipe Massa on the occasion of his last win for Ferrari, at the 2008 Brazilian GP

Felipe Massa announced on Tuesday that he is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season, opening the door for Kimi Raikkonen to return to the F1 team that took him to the title in 2007.

“From 2014 I will no longer be driving for Ferrari,” the Brazilian said in a post on Instagram and Twitter. “I would like to thank the team for all the victories and incredible moments experienced together. For next year, I want to find a team that can give me a competitive car to win many more races and challenge for the championship.”

“Thank you also to my wife and all of my family, to my fans and all my sponsors. From each one of you I have always received great support! Right now I want to push as hard as possible with Ferrari for the remaining seven races,” he added.

Raikkonen, who currently races for Lotus, has been widely tipped to return to the team he left in 2009 to make way for Spain’s double champion Fernando Alonso.

There was no word from the team, however, with Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo earlier avoiding questions about the Finn when questioned by reporters at the Frankfurt motor show.

“We won’t talk about F1 today,” the Italian said. “I am trying to convince a driver to come back and am speaking to Schumacher tomorrow,” he joked.

2013 will be Felipe Massa's last year with Ferrari F1 team

2013 will be Felipe Massa’s last year with Ferrari F1 team

Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, now 44 and fully retired after his comeback with Mercedes ended last year, is most definitely not in the running. Raikkonen, the 33-year-old with the glacial gaze and ‘Iceman’ tattooed on his forearm, certainly is.

Paddock whispers after last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza spoke of a done deal, although Lotus also said they were still hoping to keep their man and Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg has also been thought to be in the frame.

Raikkonen has plenty of supporters among the passionate Ferrari ‘tifosi’ as the team’s first champion of the post-Schumacher era. His return would be a break with Ferrari tradition, as much as a blast from the past.

If he is named as Massa’s replacement, and unless Alonso also drops a bombshell, Ferrari will have a former world No 1 on both sides of the garage next season for the first time since most fans can remember.

Stefano Domenicali with  Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa on the podium after the 2013 Spanish GP

Stefano Domenicali with Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa on the podium after the 2013 Spanish GP

In the 1950s, team founder Enzo Ferrari had Italian champions Alberto Ascari and Giuseppe Farina racing in his cars together but Montezemolo has spoken out in the past against having “two roosters in the same henhouse”.

Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell were there together in 1990 but the Briton would have to wait until 1992 with Williams before he became a champion.

Since the arrival of Michael Schumacher in 1996, Ferrari has preferred to be a team with one driver clearly ranked ahead of the other.

While speculation about Massa’s future has been a regular occurrence of recent seasons, this time the Brazilian recognised he had run out of road and his exit could leave his country without any driver on the starting grid.

Massa has not won since 2008, when he was overall drivers’ championship runner-up, and has been on the podium just once this year. But he was a loyal teammate to Alonso who made clear who he would rather have in the other red car.

Kimi Raikkonen with Fernando Alonso

Kimi Raikkonen with Fernando Alonso

“I have a lot of respect for Felipe. We’ve been working very hard and close for four years to give Ferrari the maximum,” Alonso said in a response to fans on Twitter on Monday.

“Whatever decision the team will take will be good for me and we will keep working to give Ferrari the best results possible.”

Raikkonen is a man who refuses to be anything other than himself, an often taciturn soul who would happily skip most media engagements and likes to let his driving do the talking. Not much fazes him, least of all paddock mind games.

When the Finn left Ferrari in 2009 to make way for Fernando Alonso, he went without burning any bridges. When he came back to F1, after two years in rallying, it was like he had never been away.

A Ferrari vacancy, the seat every aspiring racing driver dreams of, is a rare occurrence – leaving aside the occasional stand-in role – and headline news in Italy.

“We are putting on the table all the elements,” Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali told reporters after the race at Monza on Sunday, adding that the decision was not an easy one to take. (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Finally! Soon, Alonso will be crushed by either Raikkonen or Hulkenberg, and then laid off.

    Cant wait to see that!

  • Tamburello_1994

    Happy trails, Felipe. It was a good run. But your time is up.

    Waiting to hear from Alonso. His reaction – Carefully worded I’m sure. I wonder if Ferrari even asked him how he would feel about Kimi as a teammate – Or if they even give a goddamn what he thinks at this point. You have to wonder what would have been at Maranello had Raikkonen never been shown the door back in 2009.

    I doubt Alonso finishes out his contract. I may be wrong, But I think both sides are a bit weary of each other and maybe a change a scenery would do everyone good. Last week at Monza something was going on . . . Only to be swept aside by Alonso’s good showing in the race. Now, With Massa’s departure it’s all coming into focus.

    I just don’t see how Alonso stays happy for the next three years having to share his space, Especially if Kimi kicks his ass performance – wise. I wish we could all just fast forward to Albert Park next spring right now being Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull all but wrapped 2013 up.

  • MacStar227

    The door is open for Hulkenberg to make his mark in F1.

  • MacStar227

    Funny how some think 1 time champion Raikkonen can easily despose of double champion Alonso!

  • the fan

    tamburello…

    “You have to wonder what would have been at Maranello had Raikkonen never been shown the door back in 2009.”

    kimi left ferrari with probably one of his worst seasons in F1, i think he only won a single gp in 2009 so I cant really tell what would have happened if he was not forced out of his contract. alonso came in and almost won the title in 2010 and 2012 only to loss out on bad luck(2012) and bad strategy(2010). im taking nothing away from sebastian during those seasons btw… simply saying, ferrari may have won nothing in the alonso era but still they can win some races and being a runner up for 2 seasons aint bad either. its just they cant have the ultimate goal with sebastian’s dominance. just sayin :)

  • Henk

    The angle on this story is getting ridiculous: Ferrari made a mistake for firing Raikkonen and hiring Alonso. And now Raikkonen will beat him. I think Tamburello (whatever he/she means by that presudo) and Alonso_is_slow are “journalists” for GP247 stoking fires with their “takes” on F1 “news”. Sort of Eddie Jordan, but without a job.

  • Tamburello_1994

    @ Henk

    Why do I have to be some hack Journalist? That’s completely absurd. Why can’t I just be a fan like you?

    Don’t get it twisted. What “fires” am I stoking by just rendering an opinion? This is what this forum is about, Right?

    I thought I put some relevant issues on the table for folks like you to ponder and maybe give your own thoughts. I don’t have to work for this website to do that, Do I? Get a clue.

    I don’t know what’s so had to understand about my moniker either. Should be self explanatory. Not sure why that even matters.

  • earlcee7

    I totally agree with @MacStar227, Kimi is a great driver but even if he should beat Alonso it will be close. For starters he isn’t very gud on Saturdays and coupled with Alonso’s amazing race pace he will find Alonso I tough nut to crack! I’m not an Alonso fan I like Lewis, but this pairing will be interesting to watch next year!

  • Tamburello_1994

    Add to edit:

    *Hard*

  • the fan

    @MacStar227,

    actually i think they just hate alonso that much so they’ll do everything they can to say the worst things

  • Nemo Nobody

    I still can’t believe it. I am a Kimi fan but I think he won’t have equal treatment as Alonso. Hope I’ll be proved wrong in the end.

  • Spartacus

    Finally the Ferrari retirement package comes to an end for Massa. He’ll either have to become a racing driver again or leave F1. I suspect he’ll have little option but to leave F1.

    Wherever he goes he’s not going to have as fast a car, nor as well paid. That’s not to say that I don’t think the likes of McLaren should ditch Perez for Massa; just that it’s unlikely to happen.

    Kimi back to Ferrari? I do like the idea of that and I’m sure Kimi would love the irony of that move too. And I’m sure I’ll be proved wrong in just a few hours or less, but I don’t think that will happen.

  • Tamburello_1994

    “actually i think they just hate alonso that much so they’ll do everything they can to say the worst things”

    @ the Fan

    I hope you’re not including me in that. I challenge you to find anywhere where I’m hating on Fernando, Or any driver for that matter.

    I’m not personally vested in any certain driver in today’s F-1 like some on this board are, But I get it. I happen to like Fernando, Vettel and Hamilton as well. There’s not one driver I dislike actually. For me, It’s just not like that anymore. I enjoy them all.

    I learned this lesson the hard way.

    The sole driver I really truly ever cared about died in that first, fast, left hand corner at Imola, 1994.

  • the fan

    tamburello…

    nah, I think we both know the person/people im referring to :D

  • Stoner

    @MacStar227

    you have not seen Formula 1 good enough, thats why kimi beating alonso is funny for you

  • Spartacus

    Officially confirmed. Kimi to Ferrari. I have to admit I was wrong.

    Hoped that Kimi would have gone back to McLaren. That would have been superb.

  • Hawk

    Kimi cannot beat Alonso’s determination. Kimi thrives on talent alone. we just have to wait and see.

  • Hunter

    The fan

    Just sayin. 2009 Kimi just won 1 race and this victory is considered a miracle for Ferrari and its tifosi since the car was the worst in the last 10 years.

    Nice numbers in Alonso era even his ‘almost win’
    What about Kimi’s number at Ferrari ?? 1 WDC and 2 WCC.
    Impressing right?

    Do you want more? Wait until the end of 2014. Allison knows what Kimi needs.