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Massa enjoys fun final F1 outing in Abu Dhabi after Alonso fight

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Felipe Massa signed off his Formula 1 career with a run to 10th place in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, spending most of the race fighting with former teammate Fernando Alonso.

Massa confirmed ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix he would be quitting F1 at the end of the season – a year after his original planned retirement – following more than 15 years in the sport.

Following a near-perfect display at his home race in Brazil two weeks ago that saw him finish seventh, Massa followed it up with another run into the points in Abu Dhabi, taking the checkered flag 10th.

Massa spent much of the race scrapping with Alonso, who he raced alongside at Ferrari between 2010 and 2013, finishing 3.4 seconds behind the McLaren driver at the checkered flag.

“it was good fun today. I really enjoyed the race I did, fighting from the beginning to the end – fighting with Fernando again from the beginning to the end!” Massa told NBCSN after the race.

“But what can I say? I’m so lucky to be passing through all of these years, racing for great teams, meeting great people, fighting against the best drivers in the world. I’m very lucky.

“I just need to say thank you to all of you guys who have been following me for such a long time. It was a great pleasure. I can say I’m very happy for all of this.”

Massa is known to be exploring alternative racing options for next year, and has been linked with an official FIA role as well, with the Brazilian confirming he would still be around the paddock.

“Staying at home is not a great thing to do, I cannot do it. But we’ll invent something interesting to do,” Massa said.

“I’m looking forward to that. I’m sure I’ll have some great opportunities in front of me.

“We just need to have the time to think about it and do it in the right way, not taking whatever occasion.

“That’s the way I am, and that’s the way I’ll try to be.”

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

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