SAO PAULO (AFP) - Felipe Massa insisted on Thursday (Nov 9) that his impending retirement from Formula One is for good, but he is dejected by Brazil's declining significance in the sport.
Talking to reporters ahead of this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix, Massa reflected on his career, his 11 wins with Ferrari, his narrow miss in the 2008 world championship and the plight of his beloved Brazil, suffering severe economic challenges.
Next year, without Massa on the grid, Brazil is likely to be without a driver in Formula One for the first time in five decades stretching back to 1969.
It is a prospect that saddens Massa whose presence has been part of a lineage from Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet to Ayrton Senna and Rubens Barrichello.
"Yes, it's true we are suffering," said the 36-year-old. "It's not an easy moment in Brazil, financially, but I really hope Brazil stays for a long time in Formula One."
Twelve months on from his tearful first farewell in the Interlagos pit lane, Massa will take part in what he says is his final Brazilian race this weekend.
After being lured back from retirement to race one more year with Williams, when friend and team-mate Valtteri Bottas departed to join Mercedes in January, this time he is leaving Formula One forever.
"The feeling that I had on the human side after the race last year - really, I never thought I would feel that, or I would have that in my career," the 36-year-old recalled on Thursday.
"I think what I had last year was definitely more than enough."