F1: Felipe Massa announces Ferrari exit on Twitter, paving way for Kimi Raikkonen return
The former world champion is expected to join for next season
Wednesday 11 September 2013
Kimi Raikkonen is likely to be confirmed as a Ferrari driver for the second time later today after Felipe Massa bade farewell on Tuesday.
Massa turned to his Twitter account to bring the curtain down on his Ferrari career that will have spanned eight years by the end of this season.
In his place, and following feverish speculation in the Monza paddock throughout the course of the Italian Grand Prix weekend, Raikkonen looks set to partner Fernando Alonso from next season.
Massa, who has made 184 starts for Ferrari - winning 11 races - since joining them in 2006 from Sauber, said: "From 2014 I will no longer be driving for Ferrari.
"I would like to thank the team for all the victories and incredible moments experienced together.
"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 a great support!
"Right now I want to push as hard as possible with Ferrari for the remaining 7 races.
"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 which remains my greatest objective!"
Raikkonen is understood to have signed a deal with Ferrari on Monday, although president Luca Di Montezemolo refused to discuss the matter when questioned on Tuesday at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
It just remains for Ferrari, though, to finally let the cat out of the bag and bring to an end the long-running saga regarding the 33-year-old's future.
Raikkonen has been in the spotlight since Mark Webber confirmed at the end of June he would be retiring from Formula One at the end of this year.
Although Raikkonen held talks with Red Bull, he was overlooked as the team turned to another product of their young driver academy in Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo to partner three-times champion Sebastian Vettel.
When the Ferrari rumours first surfaced a return appeared unlikely given Raikkonen's seemingly ignominious exit at the end of 2009 as the team paid off the final year of his contract to sign Fernando Alonso.
Di Montezemolo has also previously expressed the likely difficulties in managing "two foxes in the same henhouse", as Raikkonen and Alonso would undoubtedly prove.
From Alonso's perspective, the Spaniard has also been accustomed to having a subservient team-mate over the last four years in Massa.
The 32-year-old, however, will now have to fight for number one status, a challenge he did not relish in the past when he was at McLaren in 2007 and going up against Lewis Hamilton.
As far as Massa is concerned, after 11 seasons in F1, he clearly has no intention of leaving, and may become a target for Lotus who will be eager to sign a top-level replacement for Raikkonen.
But the 32-year-old Brazilian has not won a race since his home grand prix of 2008 when he came within seconds of winning the world title, only to lose out to Hamilton.
In 2009, Massa was involved in a life-threatening accident in Hungary which resulted in him requiring emergency surgery and a titanium plate inserted in his skull.
How Atletico Madrid produced a miracle on a shoestring
Chelsea 1 Sunderland 2: Blues could face FA punishment after Jose Mourinho’s post-match dig at referee
WWE Smackdown Results: Batista sends signals to The Shield ahead of their 6-Man Tag at Extreme Rules
Hull v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger admits 'I am not in the best position' as contract uncertainty continues
Chelsea 1 Sunderland 2 match report: Fabio Borini makes Chelsea pay penalty for lack of fight
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 How We Met: Alison Moyet & Emma Kennedy: 'I knew we'd be friends because she was happy to make a prat of herself'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave