It looked as though Felipe Massa was going to be out of a seat at the end of 2016 so he decided to jump before he was pushed and announce his retirement from the sport. But with Valtteri Bottas being pinched by Mercedes Williams decided that Massa was the best option.
He’s been driving pretty well too – only hadad luck has prevented him from scoring a whole heap more points than he currently has and he could even have won the race in Baku. With his F1 career being unexpectedly extended he seems to be loving it. This generation of cars suits his driving style and he wants to continue racing for even longer.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Massa suggested that his super-short retirement has actually made him a better driver this year.
“I have no reason not to stay in Formula 1. I’m racing in a much more relaxed way and I’m happy with what I do in the car. Not thinking about some other things that are sometimes inside your job just makes you more relaxed. Doing what I like to do, enjoying it and no pressure. I was a little bit unlucky in a few races, but I’m enjoying it. I’m really in good shape, the way I’m driving, the way I understand the car and everything. But we’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Although Paul Di Resta was impressive when he subbed for Felipe at the Hungarian Grand Prix it seems unlikely that he or anyone else is going to be a threat to his seat. Williams’ chief technical officer Paddy Lowe is certainly impressed with him and heaped praise on the 36-year-old Brazilian for his performances and attitude this year, especially with regards to helping his rookie teammate Lance Stroll. Lowe said:
“Felipe is world champion material. I think if we could give Felipe the right car, he could go and get the job done. He is clearly very talented, it’s a great pleasure to work with him and find out how he works. He’s fun to work with, and a very stable and dependable guy. He’s a fantastic guy to work with. Enthusiastic, friendly, very supportive of Lance and the learning that Lance needs to go through.”
That’s high praise coming from the man who’s spent the last few years working with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg! Off the back of that it’d be hard to see Williams changing it’s line up for next year. It’s like his retirement never happened!