By Hallie Engel

Driver Felipe Massa has announced his departure from Scuderia Ferrari after seven years as an official team driver. However, his professional relationship with watchmaker Richard Mille will continue.

As the brand’s first partner in 2004, Felipe and Richard Mille co-developed a range of products bearing the initials F.M. As the official Richard Mille test driver, Massa also contributed to the development of various cutting-edge watchmaking solutions, and still tests them on race tracks the world over. Perhaps the most notable example of this collaboration is the RM 006 FM, which features carbon nanofibers. When Massa donned it throughout the 2004 season, during which it required no maintenance, it marked the first time a tourbillon watch was worn at the start of an F1 race.

After nine years, Massa and Mille have developed a genuine friendship. Mille said: “Felipe is a remarkably intelligent, insightful man, whose impressive career is far from over. We have remained at his side through thick and thin, as with our friend Rafael Nadal, offering our unwavering support."

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Massa also boasts an exemplary record with Scuderia Ferrari, with 132 starts, 11 victories, 15 pole positions, and he took second place in the 2008 World Championships, just one point behind Lewis Hamilton.