The Williams F1 team looks set to retain its current driver pairing of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas for the 2015 Formula 1 season, according to the team’s ead of Performance Engineering, Rob Smedley.
Massa (and Smedley) joined the Grove team this year after several years at Ferrari, while Bottas has been part of the team’s racing line-up since 2013, having previously served as the team’s reserve driver. The duo has helped the team to currently hold fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship standings, with Massa claiming pole position in Austria while Bottas has won all four of the team’s podium finishes so far.
“I would absolutely love to see that pairing continue through next year and that’s the plan, obviously,” Smedley told the Crash.net website.
“I think that it’s just a great blend of youth, enthusiasm – on both sides – and experience. There’s very little conflict and they’re both absolutely down with the fact that there’s a common purpose, and that common purpose is to drag this team on the journey that it’s on at the minute. It’s not about what’s happening today and tomorrow, but it’s about what’s happening in the next six months, one-year, two-year, three-year period.”
“I think that’s great; you’ve got two drivers that are pushing each other but also pushing the team.”
Smedley’s comments are no great surprise given the performance of the current pairing. Bottas has long been earmarked as a future World Champion, while Smedley’s years spent engineering Massa means he has an obvious sweet spot for the Brazilian veteran.
Speaking before the recent Belgian Grand Prix, Bottas was a little cagey about his future plans, but indicated his preference would be to remain at Williams.
“It’s still too early to say anything about that really but personally I don’t see a reason to look around at this moment. But it’s too early to say, it’s better to wait for confirmation but we will speak when we have something to say,” he said.
“I really think this team is not at its peak yet. I really think the way it is now, the direction is right and I am confident this team can still be better than what we’ve seen this year. So that’s why I am really confident here and wouldn’t mind continuing here.”
Image via XPB Images