Williams has confirmed that Felipe Massa will partner Valteri Bottas at the team next season, with Pastor Maldonado set to lose his seat at the Grove-based squad.
Massa, who has spent eight years at Ferrari, was left without a drive for 2014 after the Scuderia made the decision to re-sign Kimi Raikkonen for next season to partner Fernando Alonso.
The Brazilian, who finished as the runner-up in the championship in 2008, had been linked with a move to Lotus to fill Raikkonen’s vacant seat, but instead opted for a move to Williams, a team which he explains he has always dreamt of racing for.
“Williams is one of the most successful and important teams of all time in Formula One,” said Massa. “When I was a kid, I always dreamed about racing for Williams, Ferrari or McLaren and I’m glad to be signing with another icon of the sport following my time at Ferrari.
“I hope my experience will be useful in helping the team in its effort to move on from a difficult period. Since my early days in motor racing, I don’t remember seeing so many new rules in a single season and I’m fully prepared to work with everyone at Grove to make sure we find the right direction.
“I’m highly motivated to start working hard from the very beginning in what is an exciting new challenge in my career.”
Valteri Bottas will work alongside the Brazilian in 2014, having been retained by the Grove-based squad for a second year.
The Finn made his Formula One debut with Williams at this year’s Australian Grand Prix, but is yet to score a point this season, having struggled at the wheel of the troublesome FW35, with which the team has scored just a single point all year long, courtesy of a tenth placed finish for Pastor Maldonado at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“I’m very happy to be staying with the team as I embark on my second season in Formula One,” said Bottas. “I have known everyone here for many years, firstly as a test driver and now as a race driver, so it feels like home.
“I have faith in Williams and I know we can do so much better in the future than our current performance shows.
“I am looking forward to having Felipe as my teammate. He is a quick and experienced driver and together we will be pushing to the maximum to improve the car and get as many points as we can next season.”
“We will be working throughout the winter to ensure we are ready for the challenge of 2014. I would also like to thank everyone at Williams, especially Frank, Claire and the senior management for their on-going trust in me.”
Sir Frank Williams added his pleasure on his team’s line-up for next season, stating that it was the sign of a new beginning for the team.
“We are delighted to be able to confirm our 2014 driver line-up and welcome Felipe into the Williams family,” said the team owner. “He is an exceptional talent and a real fighter on the race track; he also brings a wealth of experience as we begin a new chapter in our story.
“Valtteri is a valued member of the team and I’m pleased he was able to demonstrate his talent in tricky conditions in Montréal. There is much more to come from him.”
Williams decision to sign Felipe Massa brings to an end Pastor Maldonado’s time at the team, with whom he scored his first Formula One win at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Maldonado’s future remains unclear, although the Venezulean, who comes with hefty financial backing from state oil company PDVSA, has been linked with a move to the Lotus team, if the Enstone squad’s deal with Quantum Motorsports fails to materialise.
Images courtesy of Pirelli Media