It is the end of an era in Formula One. Brazilian driver Felipe Massa has announced that he will be driving his final grand prix at the end of the 2016 season in Abu Dhabi. The retirement concludes 11 long years filled with ups and downs.

As per the Formula One official website, Felipe Massa announced his plan to retire on Thursday, as the Formula One circuit prepares for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix in Monza. He made the emotional revelation in front of members of the Formula One press and his peers. The announcement was met with sustained applause from the people he has worked with for over a decade at the pinnacle of motor sports.

“I must start by especially thanking my wife and my father, my whole family, my manager Nicolas and all the people who have supported me throughout my career. Thank you to God for giving me the opportunities I have had in life and, above all, for protecting me,” said Massa.

There is no doubt that Massa had a particular incident on his mind when he spoke about God’s protection. Throughout his racing career, Massa had his fair share of dangerous experiences on the track. However, in 2009, he had a particularly life-threatening experience. A piece of debris hit his helmet and fractured his skull at the Hungarian Grand Prix. For several tense hours, there was doubt about his survival. Luckily, he was able to pull through and make a full recovery.

That accident could be considered one of the lowest points in his career. The bittersweet peak came a year before, when he thought that he had won the World Drivers Championship for a few brief moments. He crossed the finish line at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2008, and believed that he had won the title. Unfortunately, his closest rival, Lewis Hamilton, was able to gain enough places in the final lap to edge him out by one point.

Throughout his career, Felipe Massa drove for teams like Sauber, Scuderia Ferrari and now Williams. He has  11 race victories so far and will end his career after  250 races.