Taken into the wings of the Scuderia at the tender age of 21, this prodigy hails from the country that has produced legends Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna. The Brazilian started his career driving alongside Nick Heidfeld at Sauber.
Massa scored five championships points in his debut season with a best result of fifth place at the Spanish Grand Prix. After just a year at Sauber, he was replaced by veteran German driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen for the 2003 season.
Jean Todt unearthed the talent and signed Felipe Massa to a deal as a test driver, who was eligible to drive for other teams, until he gained enough exposure and experience to drive for Ferrari sooner rather than later.
Ferrari dealt with Swiss constructor Sauber and ensured Massa reclaimed another run with them during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. He clinched fourth place at the difficult Belgian Grand Prix and impressed one and all. Later, in 2005, he outraced former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve quite comfortably throughout the season, to send positive signals to his young cohorts and prepare for a drive with Ferrari for the 2006 season following the contract termination of fellow Brazilian Rubens Barichello.
Massa’s start with the prancing horse was impressive but not earth shattering by any means. Although, his performances bettered midway through the season, eventually clinching podium finishes at Nurburgring, Magny Cours, Indianapolis and Hockenheim before his first-ever race victory came at Istanbul Park. He followed it up with a brilliant end to the season with second place at the difficult Suzuka circuit and clinched victory at Interlagos to become the first Brazilian driver since the late great Ayrton Senna to win at home.