Williams announced this morning that Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will drive for the team next year. Rumors have been circulating the paddock that Pastor Maldonado was unhappy with the team and that Massa was the likely replacement, so this isn’t a major surprise. It is notable that Massa has said that he does not wish to drive for an uncompetitive team, so this may point to a long-awaited resurgence in competitiveness from the Grove outfit.
The driver change puts increased interest on the driver lineup for Lotus for next year. Nico Hulkenberg is rumored to be their first choice, but Maldonado brings a large amount of funding that the team will need if their overdue funding deal falls through.
The Williams F1 Team has announced that Felipe Massa will join the team to drive alongside Valtteri Bottas for the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship season.
Having competed in 12 FIA Formula One World Championship seasons, Felipe is an experienced talent and proven race winner, with 11 race wins and 36 podiums to his credit during a hugely successful career. He has frequently challenged for the Drivers’ Championship, missing out by the narrowest of margins in 2008 and has also contributed to Ferrari‘s Constructors’ Championships in both 2007 and 2008.
After joining Williams as the team’s Test Driver in 2010, Valtteri was promoted to a race seat in 2013 and has matured into an accomplished Formula One driver, impressing the team not least with his handling of the difficult conditions in Canada to put his Williams-Renault FW35 third on the grid.
The Williams F1 Team would like to take this opportunity to thank Pastor Maldonado for his efforts and contribution over the past three seasons, in particular delivering the team’s Spanish Grand Prix victory last year. We wish him well for the future.
Sir Frank Williams, Founder and Team Principal: “We are delighted to be able to confirm our 2014 driver line-up and welcome Felipe into the Williams family. He is an exceptional talent and a real fighter on the race track; he also brings a wealth of experience as we begin a new chapter in our story. Valtteri is a valued member of the team and I’m pleased he was able to demonstrate his talent in tricky conditions in Montréal. There is much more to come from him.”
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal: “It is very exciting for us to be able to confirm our 2014 driver line-up as part of a number of announcements we will be making over the coming weeks. Felipe has demonstrated his talent and speed over the years, as well as his ability to help motivate and drive a team to championship success, and we are extremely pleased that he will be joining us as we embark on our 2014 campaign. Valtteri is an exciting, young talent who has done a solid job for us in his rookie season and we are looking forward to giving him the equipment he deserves to show just how good he is.
“This announcement is a key step towards our goal of returning Williams to the front of the grid, and part of our on-going plans to ensure we are stronger in 2014 and beyond. The stability of having both our drivers on multi-year contracts, Mercedes-Benz as our engine partner and a strong commercial base all contribute to the future success of the Williams F1 Team.”
Felipe Massa: “Williams is one of the most successful and important teams of all time in Formula One. When I was a kid, I always dreamed about racing for Williams, Ferrari or McLaren and I’m glad to be signing with another icon of the sport following my time at Ferrari. It is also nice to remember that some of the best Brazilian drivers raced for Williams and cemented a strong national link with the team. With such a major change of regulations in 2014, I hope my experience will be useful in helping the team in its effort to move on from a difficult period. Since my early days in motor racing, I don’t remember seeing so many new rules in a single season and I’m fully prepared to work with everyone at Grove to make sure we find the right direction. I’m highly motivated to start working hard from the very beginning in what is an exciting new challenge in my career.”
Valtteri Bottas: “I’m very happy to be staying with the team as I embark on my second season in Formula One. I have known everyone here for many years, firstly as a test driver and now as a race driver, so it feels like home. I have faith in Williams and I know we can do so much better in the future than our current performance shows. I am looking forward to having Felipe as my teammate. He is a quick and experienced driver and together we will be pushing to the maximum to improve the car and get as many points as we can next season. We will be working throughout the winter to ensure we are ready for the challenge of 2014. I would also like to thank everyone at Williams, especially Frank, Claire and the senior management for their on-going trust in me.”