September 14, 2013 - After eight long seasons, Brazilian driver Felipe Massa will hang his scarlet coloured racing overalls at the end of the current season. Replacing Massa is ex-team mate Kimi Raikkonen, who will race with the Ferrari team for the next two seasons. Massa announced his exit from the Italian team via his Instagram account, but hopes to continue fighting for the drivers title with a new team.
"Right now I want to push as hard as possible with Ferrari for the remaining seven 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," said Massa on the popular social networking site.
Massa joined Ferrari in 2006 and won two races alongside Michael Schumacher - who retired at the end of the season. For the 2007 season Massa paired up with Raikkonen, who went on to win the title and lost to Hamilton by a single point the next season.
He sustained injuries in a life threatening crash, which caused him to miss out the second half of the 2009 season. While he was fit for the 2010 season, he played second fiddle to two-time championship winning Fernando Alonso, and has scored just three podiums in the last three years.
Raikkonen departed from the team and the sport altogether at the end of the 2009 season and spent two years competing in WRC. He returned to F1 with the Renault powered Lotus team in 2012, and has churned out impressive results. Out of 32 races, Raikkonen has finished within the points classification 30 times, including 13 podium finishes, and had retired only once.
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal at Ferrari, said he was 'delighted' to have Raikkonen back at Ferrari. He also added the 'Iceman' returns as a stronger driver than he was in his first stint with Ferrari, and his technical feedback with Lotus has improved.
"As for the technical side of things, not only do we know full well how much Kimi can contribute at an important time like this, when the technical framework is changing so significantly, but we also have first hand information from James Allison, as to how much the Finn has also progressed in this area over the past two years," said Domenicali. James Allison was the Technical Director at Lotus who has since moved to Ferrari.
"Honestly, I think the combination of Fernando's expressive and passionate Latin character and the cool style, to call it that, of someone like Kimi, seems to appeal to many, including the youngsters and our partners are also in agreement with this," added Domenicali.
Domenicali has also stressed both drivers will start with equal footing and have to earn their way for number one status. Moreover this is the strongest driver lineup since Hamilton paired with Alonso or Button at McLaren during the 2007 season and 2010 season respectively. Besides Alonso and Raikkonen, the 2014 field houses three other championship winning drivers including Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and three-time championship winner Sebastian Vettel.