As expected, Felipe Massa will drive alongside Valtteri Bottas at the Williams F1 team for the 2016 season.
The team has announced an unchanged driver line-up ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, the home race of its chief title sponsor, Martini.
The announcement comes as no great surprise; Bottas – despite previously being linked with Ferrari as a possible replacement for the underwhelming Kimi Räikkönen – had one year to go on his current contract with the team, while his veteran teammate Massa has shown he’s lost none of his speed and didn’t warrant being replaced.
Williams is the fifth team – after Mercedes, Ferrari, Sauber and Force India – to officially confirm an unchanged driver line-up from 2015 to 2016.
For Massa, the 2016 season will mark his third with the Grove squad, having moved there in 2013 after a lengthy stint at Ferrari. The Brazilian has scored one pole position and four podium finishes with the team to-date, while Bottas – who will enter his fourth year of racing with the squad – has notched up seven visits to the rostrum.
“I am very happy to be a part of the Williams family. I am in my second year here and am so pleased to be staying as we are working very well together as a team,” Massa said of his contract extension.
“They respect me a lot and the results are there, and it has been so nice to be part of the big turnaround the team has seen since the end of 2013. I can’t wait to carry on and continue pushing even more for the team, and for myself. Thank you to Frank, Claire, Mike, Pat and the whole Williams team for their ongoing support and belief in me, as we build on what is already a great relationship.”
“I’m delighted to confirm that Felipe and Valtteri will be racing for Williams once again next year. Stability is key for any team to thrive in Formula One, so to be able to enter a third season with one of the strongest driver line-ups on the grid puts Williams in a fantastic position to continue its momentum towards the front of the grid in 2016,” team founder Sir Frank Williams added.
“Felipe and Valtteri quickly developed an exceptional working relationship from the beginning of 2014 and, while they remain fiercely competitive as rivals, they have always recognised the value of their collaboration in driving the team up the grid.
“Their shared work has given the technical team at Williams the best possible guidance in how to deliver the performance needed to carry the team forward, and both drivers have played a pivotal role in the rejuvenation of Williams.”