Q&A: Massa “wouldn’t have returned for any other team”

2017 F1 season

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Williams issued a Q&A with Felipe Massa following the new of his return to racing with the team in 2017:

Q: You said at the end of last season that you felt it was the right time to retire from Formula One, what has changed?
A: My intention was always to race somewhere, as I still have the passion for racing and competing. I also have a strong love for Williams as I have enjoyed the last three years with the team, and therefore coming back to help give stability and experience to drive things forward in 2017 was something that felt right to do.

Q: Could you have looked at other opportunities to stay in Formula One, if you were still open to the idea?
A: I have a passion for racing, for competing and for fighting on the track. My return is not about seeing Formula One as the best option, but is about seeing the role at Williams as the best option. I would not have returned for any other team.

Q: You left the sport on such a high at the end of last season, is there a danger that you won’t get the same reception now you have returned?
A: The scenes I saw in Brazil and Abu Dhabi last year are ones that I will never forget. I am so grateful for everything that happened last year and all the kind messages. Whatever happens this season, I will always leave the sport with my head held high.

Q: Do you still have the desire to race in Formula One?
A: When I joined Williams back in 2014 I found a team – and a family – that I have loved being a part of. I certainly haven’t lost the desire to race and fight on track. Whatever I would have turned my hand to this year, I would have been putting 100% effort into doing the best job that I can, and if I didn’t have that passion, I would not have agreed to return.

Q: You have been linked to a number of different race series over the winter, how far had conversations gone?
A: Since announcing my retirement last year, I had been assessing my options and there were a number of opportunities presented to me that I could have pursued. However, I have made my decision and therefore this is now my focus.

Q: How does it feel to be replacing your old team mate Valtteri?
A: Going to the current world champions is a great opportunity for Valtteri. He is a talented racer and it was great working alongside him for three years. I wish him all the best for the next chapter of his career.

Q: Can we assume that money was a factor in your decision to return to Formula One?
A: I won’t be discussing figures or any details regarding the negotiations. All I will say is that this was the right decision and I am happy to continue as part of the team.

Q: What helped make the decision and what factors did you take into consideration?
A: I think what happened at the end of last season with Nico’s unexpected retirement sparked a unique turn of events. Valtteri has been offered a fantastic opportunity and, as a result, an opportunity arose for me. When the media began reporting that I might return, I was touched by the response from so many fans who wanted to see me back in the sport. That was certainly a factor in the decision, so I’d like to thank the fans for their support. But, at the end of the day, when I received the call it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was Williams!

Q: Can you confirm this is a one-year deal?
A: At present this is a deal for 2017 only and I have not thought beyond.

Q: What are your thoughts on your new team mate Lance Stroll?
A: I’m looking forward to working with Lance, having known him for a long time. He has proved in the championships he has competed in so far that he deserves this opportunity, and it’s great to welcome new talent into Formula One. Lance may be young, but Williams has a history of bringing young drivers into the sport. He knows there is a steep learning curve ahead, but motorsport is a team sport and I look forward supporting him in any way I can.

Q: What are your thoughts and hopes for 2017?
A: It’s going to be an exciting year with all the regulation changes and I’m going to be spending lots of time with the team now preparing for the season. It’s too soon to make predictions, as we haven’t even turned a wheel. But I can say that I’m very much looking forward to driving the FW40 when testing begins next month.

Q: Williams is celebrating 40 years in Formula One this year, are you looking forward to being part of that?
A: Yes, very much. Williams has such a great history in the sport and reaching this milestone is a fantastic achievement. I know the team has more plans to celebrate this year and I’m looking forward to being part of them.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on “Q&A: Massa “wouldn’t have returned for any other team””

  1. Is this the first time Massa could be the number 1 in a team?!

    1. Probably the last time.

    2. @tonyyeb You say it as if Massa hasn’t had one of the most gifted careers of the past 20 years. Was not impressive at Sauber got promoted to Ferrari, had only to wait a season to get to become team leader, failed at it for 3 seasons, yet he did manage to do a good job for Ferrari in each of those 3 seasons. Alonso came in and Massa was not only slow but at times a whiny team-mate. Somehow got picked up by Williams (cash) and was somewhat unreliable and somewhat slow, still got 3 seasons, and now that he got the kick, he has a further seasons with Williams.

      1. He had very good races for Sauber, that’s why Ferrari picked him up. No luck involved in that. And there’s no reason Williams pick him for cash, he doesn’t have any big sponsor and his salary was one of the most expensives in recent years. And if Williams didn’t liked of his work at all, why should they keep him for so long? I don’t know what is your point, he is for sure not a stellar driver, but there’s no charity in F1.

        1. “… he doesn’t have any big sponsor…”

          Except for petrobras…

    3. Uhh… does 2008 ring a bell?

      1. He was leading the way in 2009 as well, until that infamous incident in Hungary.

  2. I dearly hope Williams can produce a stellar car this season and he can win some races. A bit optimistic I know but it would put a big smile on my face.

  3. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    16th January 2017, 15:33

    Now Felipe baby, bring back the Williams car you got for retiring.

    1. @omarr-pepper It was smashed to pieces anyway. I’m sure too that he won’t bring back the tears he stole.

  4. Welcome back, forza Felippe!

  5. I’m sure Massa wouldn’t return to the sport if Ferrari, Mclaren or Red Bull gave him a call… but when Williams call you back for another season… BWOAH!!!

  6. Williams would have been in deep waters without him. He has a massive job though: try and develop the car, score points, keep finger crossed so that the rookie teammate does not bin the car like a former Williams/Lotus driver.

  7. I don’t think Massa’s telling the entire truth here. I don’t think he is returning for Williams, nor is he returning for himself, he’s returning for Valtteri.

    Remember back to 2006 (heck, that’s over 10 years ago now…) Raikkonen was signed to Ferrari and they had one seat left, only Schumacher or Massa could stay. I remember hearing a comment from Felipe in an interview somewhen that Michael came and spoke to him, and said part of the reason he was retiring was to allow Felipe’s career to continue. I think Felipe always felt he owed Michael for that and was very humbled someone had done that for him, and by doing the same thing for someone else (I get the impression Williams only let Valtteri go on the condition Massa returned) he feels he’s almost thanked Michael for it? If that makes sense, I’m not sure those are quite the right words.

    Because if there’s one thing I will say about Massa, he is such a normal, genuine, heart-on-his-sleeve person, and when someone does something for you like Michael did for him, you feel indebted to trying to balance it out someway. It’s incredible however, in this dog-eat-dog world of motorsport, those kind of people are so incredibly few and far between.

    However, I agree that he shouldn’t return because I feel he is past it, but I admire so much the reason that I believe he is returning for, I’m willing to look past that. The only thing that does sadden me is the farewell in Brazil. It was absolutely perfect, and now it just feels false.

    1. Remember that at the time that it became clear that Stroll was to join the team Massa was very much in competition with Bottas. Only in the last 9 races did Valtteri really outscore Felipe.

      So it may well have been unclear at the time who was to make place at Williams, just like the Räikkönen to Ferrari deal ten years earlier. And like then, the older of the existing team announced his retirement early, freeing the way for the other.
      That retirement, if anything, was Massa’s payback for the favor Schumacher did him at Ferrari.

      Nobody expected Rosberg to retire at the end of the season at that time. Not even Nico himself. And it might not have happened, if the title would have slipped him again.
      But it did, and suddenly there was a gap to fill at MB, and Valtteri’s card came up.
      If only a worthy replacement could be found, acceptable to the team sponsors: the Martini company and the Strolls.
      Who else than Massa, who knows the team, won 11 races and just missed out on a WDC?
      Another sacrifice.

      Felipe baby, you are a giant.

    2. +10000

    3. @bradley13 +10000000

      1. Interesting theory nicely presented. I always thought Massa was decently quick if more erratic than the top drivers and he lost a critical step after the big accident. Class act, just hope this doesn’t get embarrassing.

        1. I am in agreement with you. He is a class act, and I am looking forward to another year if not more of watching him race.

  8. So I guess he’s not giving the Obrigado car back.

    1. @boomerzoomer
      A gift is a gift. Something tells me they didn’t make him sign a contract where it says “The signee shall fulfill his contractual obligation of ending his career in Formula One …”

  9. Still looking for your white visor, Felipe?

  10. Rosberg is just sitting back cackling. He stole Massa’s retirement.

    1. Yes, that was definitely what he wanted to do all along. Retire after winning the title just to add another season to the career of a driver who neither played a role in his 100 best or 100 worst moments in F1, just to annoy him.
      I had to see it written down, but now it’s so obvious!

  11. …except Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari…

  12. Honestly, the big winner is Stroll. He will have a fantastic team mate in Massa.

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