Felipe Massa says Nico Rosberg's shock retirement started a chain of events which led to him returning to Williams for 2017 and sees Valtteri Bottas join Mercedes as the German's replacement.
The Brazilian driver paid an emotional farewell to F1 last year at his home race
and in Abu Dhabi but after confirming his decision to go back on his retirement from the sport he is now preparing for the 2017 F1 world championship with Williams.
Massa, who insists he would only have returned to the sport with Williams, says his potential comeback became his best option once there was a place for him at the Grove-based squad with Bottas being lured to Mercedes.
“I think what happened at the end of last season with Nico's unexpected retirement sparked a unique turn of events,” Massa said. “Valtteri has been offered a fantastic opportunity and, as a result, an opportunity arose for me.
“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. When I received the call it was an offer I couldn't refuse.
“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.”
Get ready for the new season: 2017 F1 team and car launch dates
Massa is confident he'll still be on the competitive edge despite his long goodbye last year and is keen to play a pivotal role in the development of the 2017 Williams F1 car – expected to be called the FW40 – and help his new rookie team-mate Lance Stroll.
“Coming back to help give stability and experience to drive things forward in 2017 was something that felt right to do,” he said.
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