Felipe Massa confirmed on Tuesday night that Ferrari has made its decision on 2014 and that he is no longer part of their plans.
Massa has been a Ferrari driver for eight seasons and made the third most appearances for the Scuderia after Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.
“From 2014 I will no longer be driving for Ferrari,” Massa posted on Instagram and Twitter. “I would like to thank the team for all the victories and incredible moments experienced together.”
Another message added that he still feels he has more to offer as an F1 driver, “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..”
The announcement from the driver allows him to break the news with dignity; Ferrari has always felt that Massa is “one of the family” and has extended great generosity to him. After his accident in Hungary 2009 it kept a seat open for him for 2010. But the harsh reality is that since then he has not won in 70 races as Alonso’s team mate.
Massa has scored eight podium finishes to Alonso’s 11 wins and made 42 podium appearances – a much lower strike rate to the one he had with Raikkonen as a team mate.
Ferrari has looked likely to make changes after president Luca di Montezemolo’s outburst against Fernando Alonso in late July and his exhortations to the team to put a knife between their teeth to fight for Ferrari’s return to competitiveness.
Against all expectations the indications are that they look set to re-hire Kimi Raikkonen, whom they paid almost €20 million in 2010 not to drive for them.
But Montezemolo clearly wants to show Alonso who is boss and to raise the game of the whole team.
It is a risk; Alonso does not historically take well to highly competitive team mates. Raikkonen is not a politically devisive figure within a team, he is a very straightforward operator. But he will score lots of points and as a world champion he will carry significant weight. It is likely to be a fractious time for the team, but team principal Stefano Domenicali believes he can manage the two great drivers in one garage.
However it also indicates the level of concern Ferrari has about its ongoing relationship with Alonso; if they felt that there was a chance of Alonso leaving the team, the only place to turn was Raikkonen, who finds himself available at this time.