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Land of Senna, Piquet on outer for 2017 F1

Associated Press Associated Press 11/11/2016 Mauricio Savarese

Brazil, the country that produced Formula One champions Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet and Emerson Fittipaldi, could be without a driver on the grid next season.

Brazilian Felipe Massa is leaving F1 at the end of the season after 15 years on the circuit, which peaked in 2008 when he missed out on the drivers' championship by a point.

His last race is Sunday in Brazil, where he recalls watching Senna and Piquet in his younger years and dreaming of emulating them.

Massa is leaving and Felipe Nasr of Sauber is at risk of not getting a contract next season.

Nasr is depending on his main sponsor, Banco do Brasil, to find him a ride. Last season he scored 27 points, but in the 2016 season he hasn't earned a point.

There are no other Brazilian drivers in Europe being considered for a place on the grid next year.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, the favourite to claim the season title on Sunday, says Brazil needs to be in the mix.

"Your country deserves to have a good driver in a competitive car," Rosberg said this week.

Since 1972, Fittipaldi, Piquet and Senna have marked their names as F1 season champions eight times.

But in the last decade Brazilian drivers have struggled to even to win a race. The last home triumph was in 2008 at Interlagos, but it was bittersweet.

Massa took first place in his Ferrari, but lost the season title to British driver Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren.

"It will be very upsetting to see no Brazilian drivers in Formula One," said Massa, whose best results this season are two fifth places.

"We Brazilians have a lot of history in this sport. It is a tough moment. We don't have a driver that is about to break through."

The last Brazilian to win an F1 race was Rubens Barrichello, who won at the Italian Grand Prix in September 2009.

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