Williams, the last refuge for Brazilian drivers

So, word on the street (if ESPN F1 counts as ‘the street’) is that Felipe Massa is headed to Williams for 2014.  If that proves to be true, it would continue a recent trend: Brazilian drivers ending their F1 careers at Williams.

massaFelipe Massa
Photo credit: BIDTransporte via Flickr

Of course, Massa could experience a renaissance in Grove, finally out of the tall shadows cast by Fernando Alonso and, before him, Michael Schumacher.  He could return to his race-winning, championship-challenging ways from before his 2009 injury at the Hungaroring.  He could.  And Kimi Räikkönen and Alonso could become best friends.

All this to say that Williams will likely be Massa’s last stop in F1.  Just as it was for Bruno Senna, Rubens Barrichello and Antonio Pizzonia.  Coincidence?  It sure is.  There is no in-depth analysis to be done here – I just thought it was interesting that so many Brazilian drivers (particularly recent ones) have finished their careers at Williams.

rubensRubens Barrichello
Photo credit: Nic Redhead via Flickr

Future Brazilian F1 drivers can also take comfort in knowing that there will always be a home for them once their greatest asset is developing and setting up cars, rather than winning races.

Williams does not have a complete monopoly on the last races for recent Brazilian drivers, though.  Since 2005, Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Lucas di Grassi have finished their F1 careers with teams other than Williams.

One other Brazilian driver did drive his last race in a Williams: Ayrton Senna, who was tragically killed while driving the FW16 at Imola in 1994.  In fact, when I was first thinking about Barrichello and Massa, I was going to call this post, “Williams: Where Brazilian F1 careers go to die” – until I remembered Senna.

That’s all for now – try to enjoy the Abu Dhabi GP this weekend, even with both championships already decided.


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