Massa ready to be a leader at Williams

Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:33am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

GROVE, England (Reuters) - Williams might be seen as a step down for Felipe Massa after eight years at Ferrari but he sees it more as a chance to step up and become a leader, as well as following in the footsteps of illustrious compatriots.

The little Brazilian has been a loyal sidekick to a string of Formula One champions since he first arrived as a race driver at Maranello in 2006.

Massa was there alongside seven times champion Michael Schumacher, helped Kimi Raikkonen take the 2007 title and has made way for double champion Fernando Alonso more times than he would care to remember.

On Monday, the 32-year-old - casually dressed after flying in from Italy with his father - was presented to the assembled Williams factory workforce as the former champions' new signing for 2014 on a multi-year contract.

"I know I have a lot to give to this team and I am really ready to lead," he told Reuters in the team museum, in front of grand prix cars bearing the names of Brazilian greats Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet, as well as Rubens Barrichello and Bruno Senna.

"I definitely see myself coming here as a leader for the team. A leader for a very important change inside this team, to put this team in a good position in the championship," added Massa.

"I am really ready for that, happy. I feel very motivated. I hope we can do a fantastic job."

Massa has 11 wins with Ferrari to his credit and missed out on the 2008 championship by a single point to Britain's Lewis Hamilton.   Continued...

Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil drives during the second practice session of the Monaco F1 Grand Prix May 23, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini