Massa at Williams…will he stay or go?

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Silly season in Formula 1 isn’t quite like it used to be. That’s not to say that it isn’t “silly” and it isn’t usually seasonal but with the prolific nature of the pay-driver scenario, many of the F1 seats are bought these days. Sure, it’s always existed but it does seem to be more prevalent these days.

Mercedes driver and championship leader Nico Rosberg has a contract ending at the end of this season along with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Further down the grid, McLaren’s Jenson Button has a contract expiring as well as Williams F1’s Felipe Massa.

Much has been made of Felipe’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, and while I agree that he is a terrific driver, he hasn’t been showing me that he’s far superior to Massa. This season, Massa is leading the Finn in the championship and it does make you wonder what might be going on with contract renewal discussion over at Williams. Massa said they are talking about it:

“I’m definitely not losing time to understand what is going to happen next year.

“We are working on it and we’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Massa believes his experience, which includes eight seasons at Ferrari, can play a crucial part in aiding car development at a time of major rule change.

“I still believe it can be very important to have a driver who knows what to say,” he said.

“They know where to improve, which being honest is what I did in the last few years with Williams.

“Part of this improvement of this team is also totally related to my points, my experience and my help to make the car better and make the team better as well, which is what we saw in the last two years.”

There has been some talk/rumors that Williams may be interested in picking up Jenson Button and that would be a terrific bookend to his career by returning from whence he started. Is Massa the driver Williams should keep? He hasn’t been blown away by his teammate or should the team look for a change? Massa told AUTOSPORT that it is important to have a veteran in the seat but surely Bottas qualifies for that role? Is Massa sending thin messages that the team could be looking for a youngster to replace him such as Red Bull have with Max Verstappen?

If the team did hire Button, that’s as much experience as Maas offers but would it be less expensive? One thing that does catch my eye is Felipe’s comments, in the same article, about trying other sport such as DTM, WEC etc. That tells me that maybe he either knows his future or actually would like to do something different at this stage in his career. Sure, this is couched in the obligatory “only after F1” positioning but ultimately that could be sooner than later.

Williams have always been about Williams and Sir Frank hasn’t spent too much mental capital on drivers. Not that he doesn’t care and doesn’t understand the impact a great driver can have, it’s just that he knows that drivers come and go, the team on the other hand is here to stay.

There is also another chap who has F1 experience in the Williams stable in the form of Paul di Resta and as a reserve driver, perhaps he’s making a play at the seat? If you were Sir Frank of Claire Williams, who would you be looking at for the seat in 2017? Felipe? He’s made a pretty darned good case for himself in handling anything Valtteri has thrown at him.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

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MIE
Editor

What F1 seems to be missing is a team principle like Ken Tyrrell, who would pick drivers based on talent rather than budget. While Eddie Jordan performed a similar role later, none of the current teams are able to offer promising new talent a drive without the necessary budget. The end result is the more experienced drivers having a longer career than perhaps they would have done in the past.

ShocksAndAwe
Member
ShocksAndAwe

It’s not team principals that are the problem. It’s the budgets… But you know that.

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

that is true as well but regarless the TP is the one that should be calling the shots…

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

i could not agree more….

Boycottthebull
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Boycottthebull

I was also wondering why the rumours centred around Massa rather than Bottas getting the push? All I can say is the decision must have been via a coin toss.

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

I think they’ll drop both of them, or at least will drop Massa and maybe won’t be able to hang onto Bottas, as I think he’s maybe starting to realise his career isn’t going to advance with WIlliams when the team hasn’t really made any more surges forwards. If anything its gone backwards.

So I’d go with Lynn and Button as next years Williams line-up.

ShocksAndAwe
Member
ShocksAndAwe

I think it’s too early to tell if Lynn is really good. If I were considering him, I’d wait until at least mid-gp2-season to start an evaluation. His pedigree isn’t that good.

bclautz
Guest
bclautz

I think Massa is getting drop. I think Bottas could land at either Mclaren or Renault. Bottas has got to be thinking is this as far as we go with Williams.

ShocksAndAwe
Member
ShocksAndAwe

Williams should drop both Massa and Bottas and pick up Button and Perez.

ShocksAndAwe
Member
ShocksAndAwe

Although there are some pretty good drivers doing Formula E right now. JEV, for instance…

Tim C
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Tim C

Folks have been throwing dirt on Massa’s career for years. Is he the best driver on the grid . . . no. Is he the worst driver on the grid . . . no. For the most part, I see Massa as a tidy, consistent driver. He will never be a WDC, but his experience is worth something to the right team. I hope he stays in F1 for Williams or some other team. If he leaves F1, he certainly has a career to be proud of and I would miss seeing him on the track.

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

well said…

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

In his early career he was definitely WDC material, from 2006 through to his head injury in mid 2009 he was one of the front runners in F1, and he could easily have won the title in 2008. Ferrari stuck with him through difficult years after that injury, and Pat Symonds has said that Massa has been much quicker than they had expected after they brought him in, in 2014, to develop the car. Given Williams seem more committed to securing their financial viability by being a consistent 3rd / 4th placed team, rather than chasing the occasional win for… Read more »

Member

Massa should had been gone years ago(and I like the guy). Give up that seat for a younger driver. Button should join him through the exit door.

Johnpierre Rivera
Guest

your not too off on what you say, which is funny b/c i just agreed with someone else that said Massa should stay… i am so fickle…