Williams Martini Racing has confirmed an unchanged driver line-up for the 2016 Formula 1 season, with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa remaining for another year.
The team was always expected to retain its partnership for a third consecutive season following the announcement that Ferrari – who had shown an interest in poaching Bottas – would keep Kimi Raikkonen for another year.
Nonetheless, despite the attention of Ferrari, Bottas says he is delighted to be staying with Williams for what will be his fourth season with the Grove squad as he looks to continue his growth within the team.
“I am really pleased to be staying with the team for a fourth F1 race season. We have been getting stronger as a team and I look forward to what next year will bring, as I believe we can achieve even stronger results than what we have seen so far.
“I can't wait for 2016, however I am still fully focused on this season as we still have plenty of challenges to achieve. I must thank Frank, Claire, Mike, the Board, and everyone at Williams for their continued trust in me.”
In what will be his third season with Williams – and his 14th in F1 -, Massa says he is thrilled that Williams continues to show faith in him.
“I am very happy to be a part of the Williams family,” said Massa, who joined Williams in 2014 after eight season at Ferrari. “I am in my second year here and am so pleased to be staying as we are working very well together as a team. 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.”
Williams enjoyed a dramatic turnaround in fortunes with the change of the regulations in 2014, with Massa and Bottas scoring nine podiums between them to take the team to third in the constructors' standings, its best result since 2003. It is currently third in the standings in 2015 with eight races remaining.