Felipe Massa Accepts Offer to Race for Williams in 2017

The shortest retirement ever in Formula One? Felipe Massa has confirmed that he will race for Williams next season, giving Mercedes the green light to capture Valtteri Bottas.

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 31:  during the Formula One Grand Prix of GermanyFelipe Massa of Brazil driving the (19) Williams Martini Racing Williams FW38 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track at Hockenheimring on July 31, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY – JULY 31: during the Formula One Grand Prix of GermanyFelipe Massa of Brazil driving the (19) Williams Martini Racing Williams FW38 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track at Hockenheimring on July 31, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The recall of the Brazilian veteran highlights that experience is needed in the Williams cockpit next season to counter the inexperience of promising rookie Lance Stroll.

Massa announced his retirement towards the end of the season, but is already returning to the sport. 2017 will be Massa’s 16th season in Formula One. He will be the one of the oldest drivers on the grid and his experience will be crucial to Williams succeeding in the heavily changed regulations. Detailed driver feedback will be crucial next season with the production line conveyor belt of new components likely to be packed with in-season upgrades.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 27: Felipe Massa of Brazil driving the (19) Williams Martini Racing Williams FW38 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track  during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 27, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 27: Felipe Massa of Brazil driving the (19) Williams Martini Racing Williams FW38 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 27, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The confirmation of Massa makes it incredibly likely that Lewis Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes next season will be Valtteri Bottas. The Finn has a task-and-a-half ahead, the difficulty of having Hamilton as a teammate pours offtrack if the past few seasons are measured.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 29:  Top three qualifiers Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP, Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP and Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing in parc ferme during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 29, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 29: Top three qualifiers Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP, Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP and Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing in parc ferme during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 29, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)