Formula 1
Claire Williams 'relieved' that Massa didn't want to retire after all
Formula 1

Claire Williams 'relieved' that Massa didn't want to retire after all

Published Jan. 20, 2017 10:33 a.m. ET

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams admits she was relieved to realize that the Brazilian hadn’t wanted to end his F1 career and was willing to return to the team in 2017.

Williams rang Massa in December, just after he had been at the factory for the team’s Christmas party. She says felt bad about asking him if he would change his mind about retirement, but in fact he didn’t require much persuasion. Instead it became clear that he’d stopped primarily because he knew that a top drive would not be available, and not because he’d had enough of the sport.

“Bless him, Felipe had announced his retirement, we had a whole fanfare around it, and then to have to phone your ex-driver up and say, 'Would you mind coming out of retirement?' you feel quite bad about it,” Williams told Sky Sports News. “But I've never heard anyone so happy and excited, so it was a big relief for us.”

She is confident that Massa can do a good job: “We are never going to put a driver in the car who we don't believe can deliver. As everyone saw even in his last race last year, he delivered for this team.

“He has lost none of his motivation. I know there's a lot of talk out there, ‘Let the guy retire, leave him alone.’ He wants to come back. Little known to me, I didn't actually realize that he didn't really want to retire, and so I think Felipe is going to do a good job this year.”

Williams made the interesting observation that this “bonus” season will mean that Massa is not under pressure, implying that he has already accepted that he will stop for good at the end of his new one-year deal.

“He's got a year to just have some fun and sometimes when that's the case the pressure is off. He can just go out there and deliver, without worrying about anything else. So I'm looking forward to seeing what he could do, and having that pairing with Lance I hope is going to work really well for us.”


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