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BUTTON AND MASSA BID FOND FAREWELL

Two men who have been among the most acceptable faces of Formula 1 will reach the end of their driving careers here in Abu Dhabi, Jenson Button after 305 races, Felipe Massa after 250. Both men took the chance to reminisce in the first official press conference at Yas Marina Circuit.

Issued on behalf of Scot Sport... 

Two men who have been among the most acceptable faces of Formula 1 will reach the end of their driving careers here in Abu Dhabi, Jenson Button after 305 races, Felipe Massa after 250. Both men took the chance to reminisce in the first official press conference at Yas Marina Circuit.

‘It’s been a long journey, since eight years old until now,’ said Button, who is due to take up an ambassadorial role with his current McLaren team. ‘Everything before Formula 1 was work to try and get to Formula 1.

‘You get to Formula 1 with many dreams and you aspire to be something, and hopefully you leave the sport with memories and that’s something I definitely do have… Lots of amazing memories, lots of life-changing memories, some good, some bad, and also to walk away with a world championship is a very special feeling as well.’

Button’s 15 wins have been shared among three teams, Honda, Brawn and McLaren, and he made much of what they meant to him.

‘I’ve raced with two of the teams I dreamt of racing with as a kid, Williams and McLaren, and when I did win the world championship it was with a privateer team, which I think is also pretty special. I will definitely step away from Formula 1 happy with what I’ve achieved and knowing that my life really does start now.’

Massa arrived in Abu Dhabi still thunderstruck by the emotional response he received from the crowd and the other F1 teams when he walked into pit lane after retiring from his home race in Brazil two weeks ago.

‘It’s difficult to describe,’ said the Williams driver whose 11 wins came in the first three of his eight seasons with Ferrari. ‘That first moment after I crashed I was not happy: I wanted to finish my last race at home, I even prepared a Brazilian flag in corner one, and I was so disappointed to finish like that!

‘But when I started to walk and ‘talk’ with the grandstands I just had amazing feeling, started to cry, couldn’t hold it. That walk was like forever! Then when I got to pit lane and saw all the teams out, that I couldn’t believe. It was still in the middle of the race. I really hope Jenson feels the same here in this race because it’s a very special emotion. I am thankful for everything I passed through and proud of my career, even if I couldn’t have the title like him!’

Both men finished on the same note of optimism for the sport without them. ‘I hope, to be honest, what everybody hopes,’ said Massa, ‘and that is to see Formula 1 more competitive, more than one team fighting for the championship, more drivers winning races.’

‘I totally agree,’ said Button. ‘There are always going to be negatives when you are trying new trends and new technologies, but the main reason why people turn on and watch Formula 1 is the fighting, seeing different teams, different drivers, fight for every race.

‘Basically Mercedes are doing too good a job and nobody else is doing a good enough job right now. Hopefully the rule changes will help other teams find a new direction and close the gap. That’s the only reason why I’ll be watching Formula 1 next year.’

Massa ended on a note that summed up the man. Asked if the respect and regard he had been shown in Brazil counted for more than trophies and titles, he said: ‘Definitely. That is what you represent on the human side. That’s a lot bigger than a simple trophy. People don’t just look at you as a driver, they look at you as a person…’

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