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Massa set to stay at Williams to line up Bottas Mercedes switch

Felipe Massa has reportedly agreed to delay his retirement from F1 to return to Williams in 2017 which will open the door for Valtteri Bottas to switch to Mercedes.
Felipe Massa has reportedly agreed to delay his retirement from F1 to return to Williams in 2017 which will open the door for Valtteri Bottas to take up Nico Rosberg's vacated race seat at Mercedes.

Despite no final contracts being confirmed on either deal with Williams or Mercedes, it is believed Massa is ready to go back on his decision to retire from the sport next season and stay at the Grove-based squad to team-mate rookie Lance Stroll.

With Williams securing an older and experienced partner alongside Stroll it is happy to see Bottas switch to Mercedes after Rosberg stunned F1 by opting to retire just days after winning a maiden world championship.

As the Christmas period brings a small shutdown period for F1 the finishing touches on both deals are expected to be completed and confirmed in the coming weeks.

The driver rotation had been kicked off by Rosberg's shock decision to retire from F1 leaving Mercedes without a second driver going into the off-season with the majority of current drivers already tied to contracts.

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff identified Bottas as his favourite to replace Rosberg as a like-for-like driver who will not rock the boat against Hamilton.

Mercedes is planning to cover the majority of Williams power unit payments in order to lever the Bottas deal, but Williams would only give it the green light if it could secure Massa for 2017.

As a result, Massa has made a U-turn on his decision to retire from F1 to provide Williams with an experienced driver to partner Stroll ahead of the regulation revamp, while also meeting title sponsor contract requirements of having at least one driver over 25-year-old.



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