Felipe Massa says he was close to joining Jaguar in Formula E prior to making a u-turn on his decision to retire from Formula 1 at the end of 2016.
Former Ferrari and Williams driver Massa quit F1 for good at the end of 2017, and has since signed a three-year deal to compete in Formula E with Venturi, with his debut scheduled for the inaugural Riyadh E-Prix in December.
“I was talking with Jaguar before I decided to go back [to Formula 1] with Williams,” said Massa.
“Williams wanted me to do one more year because it was a big change to the rules, a lot more downforce. That gave me the motivation to carry on and do one more season.
“I stopped all the talks with Jaguar [to re-sign with Williams] but I did the test with Jaguar anyway to learn the car, and then when I finished my F1 career I decided now it is real.”
After announcing in November that he would be calling time on his 15-year F1 career, Massa began talking to Formula E teams about a drive for the 2018/19 season and says he made the decision to join Venturi they were the team that made him feel the most wanted.
“The way they approached me, they wanted to have me in the team, it was nice,” said Massa.
“I believe what [Venturi] are doing for next year is quite interesting so I really hope we can have a good car, but I hope that we can develop the team in the way the team wants to be develop – to be big, to be competitive.”
Massa hasn’t driven competitively since a one-off appearance in the Brazilian Stock car championship in December, and admits he has missed racing, but not necessarily F1.
“I think it was the right time [to leave F1] and I was really happy with my decision,” said Massa.
“I think everything is going in the right direction for me but I miss the races, I miss the competition. That as a driver with a love of motor racing, a love of competition, I miss that.”
Ahead of his race debut in December, Massa will undergo a rigorous development programme to prepare him for life in Formula E and the Brazilian says he has reached out to his friend and countryman Lucas di Grassi for advice.
“I spoke a lot to Lucas [di Grassi] because I’ve had a very good relationship with him for a long time,” said Massa.
“He is a very good driver, he is very intelligent the way he races. He has a mix of driver and engineer with crazy ideas, so I always speak to him.
“The approach I am having is [to prepare] myself for the whole season [and to be ready] at the start of next season. I think this is the correct approach to be honest so I am not in a hurry.
“My goal is always to be the best I can. I am not here to just race around, I am here to try to win, [which is] always what I have done in my career.”
Image Credit: Formula E
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