This week we said goodbye to yet another Formula 1 driver. Felipa Massa began his F1 careers in 2002 with a drive for Sauber, but missed out in the following year before he returned in 2004 with the same team.
Massa's next stint was in 2006 when we joined the Ferrari team alongside 7 time World Champion Michael Schumacher. Massa's early years were tough, with spin offs and mistakes coming often. Despite the mistakes Massa returned to the 2007 season with a strong testing season, as he set the fastest lap times on 4 circuits but this time he was troubled with gearbox problems and a penalty for an engine change. Massa drove well in 2007 and won the Turkey, Spain and Bahrain Grand Prix, while also appearing on the podium in many more races that year. He ended his 2007 season ranked 4th.
In July of 2009 Felipe Massa suffered an injury which was described as "life-threatening but stable" and his helmet was struck by a suspension spring that had fallen onto the track. Massa was airlifted to hospital where he underwent surgery to his left eye and a week later he returned to Brazil. A titanium plate was inserted into his skull to allow him to drive again.
Outside of Formula 1 Felipe Massa has partnered up with luxury watchmaker Richard Mille and has wore a RM watch is every Grand Prix since 2004. Since then 3 more F1 drivers have joined the Richard Mille family but Massa has remained at the heart of it all. The watch brand's partnership with the F1 driver meant that they were able to test their ground breaking watch technology in real world situations as the watches are able to withstand the harsh acceleration and violent vibrations associated with a F1 Grand Prix.
Felipe Massa boasts his name on the iconic RM011 watch alongside the highly successful RM050 and RM056, which has a price tag of over $1million. Felipe has not only tested the luxury watches but is also a spokesperson for the brand.
Whether on or off the track this legend that we have come to adopt over the past 15 seasons is a true soldier, someone with determination to overcome the problems he has faced and yet come back stronger.
It is hard not to shed a tear knowing that we will not see this amazing F1 driver on the track anymore... and that is why he was met with nothing but tears from his team at his 250th and final Grand Prix at Abu Dhabi. His mechanic for the day was his son, who waved him out of the pit lanes. The Williams team have gifted Massa the F1 car that he drove at the most recent Brazilian Grand Prix, with the name MASSA over the livery.
We shall now only relish the memories of this awesome human being... the man who was 1 point away... the master of modesty... Obrigado Massa.