There’s just something about getting to watch a legendary rally car, driven by an F1 driver with a gorgeous lady in the passenger seat. When that legendary car is a Lancia Delta S4, the driver is Felipe ‘Babyface Assassin’ Massa and the gorgeous lady is Williams Martini Racing’s global brand ambassador Alice Dellal, it gets even better. Wait, there’s more. ‘Coz this isn’t just a regular coming together of man, woman and metal.
Felipe Massa has had an illustrious Formula 1 career that has spanned 15 seasons and 250 Grands Prix. One of the most likeable guys all throughout his time in Formula 1, Massa’s dedication and camaraderie is best displayed by the fact that he has raced for only 3 teams in those 15 seasons – starting off with Sauber for the 2002 season, switching to a Ferrari race seat from 2006 to 2013 and finally at Williams from 2014. On 1 September this year, he announced his retirement. Despite having played second fiddle to Michael Schumacher for a better part of his time at Ferrari, he has had an amazing run – almost winning the Championship in 2008, and that in fact is a story that will remembered forever.
Despite securing 11 wins and 41 podium finishes from his 248 Grand Prix starts, Massa never won the Championship (it could have been very different in 2008). He amassed 1122 career points through an era in which F1 changed its points structure, holds 16 Pole Positions and 15 Fastest Laps. Felipe’s career could even have ended prematurely when a dislodged rear suspension spring from compatriot Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn GP car came crashing into Massa’s helmet during Qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. A titanium plate inserted to help his cracked skull heal meant that he kept away from a race seat for the remainder of 2009, only to come back and finish in 2nd place at the opening round of the 2010 F1 Championship in Bahrain.
Brazilians have always been well-loved in Formula 1 and Felipe Massa joins the likes of Ayrton Senna and Rubens Barrichello in that list. An inspiration to his countrymen, Massa is also a loving and devoted husband and father, something that shows quite evident in the video. Back in the Lancia, Alice Dellal asks takes Massa through a rapidfire round of questions as he’s negotiating the track ahead of his last and final home GP appearance in an F1 race seat – the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. While the conversation takes place exclusively in Portuguese (you gotta admit – it’s even better watching Alice speaking in her native language), pay attention to the subtitles. It’s going to be quite the tear jerker as Formula 1 prepares to bid farewell to the constantly smiling Felipe Massa. Having been a big fan of the man myself, you can bet it’s going to be an emotional one here at the MotorScribes HQ too. Farewell, Massa. And Thank You for showing the world that not everything is dull and boring in Formula 1, still. Here’s hoping we meet again and I shall always cherish that autograph I got during the 2008 Bahrain Grand Prix!
It was indeed an emotional moment as Felipe Massa spun out in torrential rain at the 2016 Brazilian GP – the last home race of his F1 career. Relive the emotion in the video below: