Williams plan 'emotional' send-off for Massa in Abu Dhabi

Felipe Massa, Williams F1
© XPB 

The Williams team is putting everything it can into giving Felipe Massa the best-possible send-off this weekend.

It's the second time that the Brazilian has retired from Formula 1. He expected last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to be his final outing, only to make a surprise return in 2017.

Williams needed him back in the seat after Valtteri Bottas was picked up by Mercedes to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg. But now, 12 months on, Massa really is about to start his last-ever Formula 1 Grand Prix event.

"This is Felipe’s final race with us, and his final in Formula 1,' confirmed the team's chief technical officer Paddy Lowe. "Part of our focus will be on making sure he ends his Formula 1 career on a good note."

"Abu Dhabi is always a nice race and a place I always like to visit," said Massa, who will be making his 269th start on Sunday. "The people go crazy for Formula 1 as well, so I hope to see the track completely full!

"There are so many parties and boats around the track," he noted. "And so many people enjoying themselves and getting excited for the race.

"For me, it will be quite an emotional weekend," he admitted. "It will be my final race with Williams as well as my final race in Formula 1.

"I am looking forward to it and plan to enjoy every moment, to finish my Formula 1 career on a high note!"

It's rumoured that Robert Kubica will take over from Massa in 2018. Other drivers also believed to be in contention include Paul di Resta, Pascal Wehrlein and Daniil Kvyat.

But the final race of this year will also see another milestone for the Williams team, as Lowe pointed out.

"It is also the final race of Lance’s rookie season," he said of Massa's young team mate. "We want to support him in his ambition to end on a high before heading into the winter break."

While this is Stroll's first actual race at the Yas Marina Circuit, he has good memories of his visit to the venue in 2016.

"I went there last year just after I was confirmed as a Williams Martini Racing driver," he commented. "It was a great event.

"It is a wonderful place to finish off the season in the desert," he said. "Yhey really put on a show, so this will certainly be a fitting end to the season.

"The circuit is very stop and go and doesn't have a great flow to it, but despite that the show is great and so good for the fans."

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