Felipe Massa will come out of retirement to replace Valtteri Bottas at Williams.
Massa’s announcement was expected following numerous reports that he will return to the Grove based team to fill the gap that will be left by Valtteri Bottas who will now be confirmed at Mercedes for the 2017 season.
Following Nico Rosberg shock retirement announcement, there was an initial scramble for his replacement at Mercedes. Many names were thrown around but the most prudent choice for Mercedes would be Bottas. With Williams using Mercedes engines and Bottas’ Management company owned by Toto Wolff it made the deal somewhat easier to negotiate.
Massa will return for the 2017 season to replace Bottas after a very emotional final few races of 2016.
“Firstly, I am very happy to have an opportunity to return to Williams. I always intended to race somewhere in 2017, but Williams is a team close to my heart and I have respect for everything it is trying to achieve,” said Massa on his return.
Massa, perhaps dropped the biggest clue about Bottas’ 2017 plans when he wished him all the best at Mercedes.
“Valtteri has a great opportunity, given the turn of events over the winter, and I wish him all the best at Mercedes,” added the Brazillian.
“In turn, when I was offered the chance to help Williams with their 2017 Formula One campaign, it felt like the right thing to do. I certainly have not lost any of my enthusiasm for racing and I’m extremely motivated to be coming back to drive the FW40.
“The support from my fans over the last few weeks has been a huge boost and I’m grateful for that.
“I also look forward to working with Lance; I’ve known him for many years and seen his talent develop during that time, so I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, said; “I’m delighted that Felipe has agreed to come out of retirement to be a part of our 2017 campaign.
“With Valtteri having a unique opportunity to join the current Constructors’ Champions, we have been working hard to ensure that an agreement could be made with Mercedes to give Valtteri this fantastic opportunity.
“Valtteri has been part of the Williams family since 2010 and in that time has proved a huge talent, securing nine podium finishes.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank him on behalf of the whole team, and wish him a successful season as he joins Mercedes.
“Felipe has always been a much-loved member of the Williams family, and having the opportunity to work with him again is something we all look forward to.
“He was always going to race somewhere in 2017, as he has not lost that competitive spirit, and it was important that we had a strong replacement in order for us to let Valtteri go.
“Felipe re-joining us provides stability, experience and talent to help lead us forward. He is a great asset for us.”
Photo Credit: Williams Martini Racing Formula One Team