Williams bids farewell to Maldonado and welcomes Massa to the family

Felipe Massa to replace Pastor Maldonado at Williams

Felipe Massa to replace Pastor Maldonado at Williams

Brazilian Felipe Massa will replace Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado at Williams next season after signing a multi-year contract, the Formula 1 team announced on Monday.

Finland’s Valtteri Bottas will remain as the former champions’ other driver.

“When I was a kid I always dreamed about racing for Ferrari, Williams or McLaren,” Massa said in a statement before addressing assembled Williams employees at the factory in central England.

“I’m glad to be signing with another icon of the sport following my time at Ferrari.”

The 32-year-old has raced for Ferrari since 2006 with 11 grands prix wins during that period. He missed out on the world championship by a single point in 2008 to Britain’s Lewis Hamilton.

He follows in the footsteps of the late triple champion Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, Rubens Barrichello and Bruno Senna as Brazilians to have driven for Williams.

Pastor Maldonado and Williams celebrate their single victory together at the 2012 Spanish GP

Pastor Maldonado and Williams celebrate their single victory together at the 2012 Spanish GP

“He is an exceptional talent and a real fighter on the racetrack,” said team principal Frank Williams. “He also brings a wealth of experience as we begin a new chapter in our story.”

Ferrari have already announced that 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, who is out of contract with Lotus at the end of the season, will replace the Brazilian at the Italian team.

Maldonado brought substantial backing from Venezuelan oil company PDVSA to Williams when he arrived in 2011 but has become frustrated with the former Champions, who have scored just one point this season.

Williams thanked him for his efforts, in particular his victory in last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

“This announcement is a key step towards our goal of returning Williams to the front of the grid, and part of our ongoing plans to ensure that we are stronger in 2014 and beyond,” said deputy principal Claire Williams.

Frank and Claire Williams are seeking stability by bringing in Felipe Massa and retaining Valtteri Bottas

Frank and Claire Williams are seeking stability for their team by bringing in Felipe Massa and retaining Valtteri Bottas

“The stability of having both our drivers on multi-year contracts, Mercedes-Benz as our engine partner and a strong commercial base all contribute to the future success of the Williams F1 team.”

Massa said that 2014, with a new V6 engine being introduced and major rule changes, will be a fresh start.

“I hope my experience will be useful in helping the team in its effort to move on from a difficult period,” he said.

“I’m fully prepared to work with everyone at Grove to make sure that 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.” (Reuters)

  • tod

    At last some good news! Well done Frank you could not have done better than picking Felipe.
    Good luck next season to you both!!

  • Fritzo

    Experience is key and Massa is consistent.

  • Eevel

    Excellent news! Well done to Felipe and Williams!
    I’m so glad they’re finally rid of Pastor and his dirty money!

  • speedy

    Thankfully Frank has chose to take on experience instead of money.Massa has a talent that money can’t buy.Good luck Felipe Massa x

  • MK

    Excellent News! Happy to see the pay driver go and happy to see Massa stay in F1.

  • Mopar212222

    Very good day for Williams and the sport, I suspect that the team got a very nice buy-out package from PDVSA. They will certainly save a lot of $$$ on wings, bodywork and suspension components, as Bottas has yet to really tear anything major up and Felipe is good on equipment too.

    Wherever the Russian, Mexican and Venezuelan $$$ end-up could really shake-up Force India, Sauber and Lotus.

  • Bjornar Simonsen

    I’m so happy for him! Hopefully he will get a few good years there. Now, Hulk to Lotus and all will be sorted.

  • Lakmal

    Good job Sir Frank Williams. You can have better success & you will also save some money coz Massa is no crash boy like Maldernado.

  • ZombieJebus

    Great news for Massa and Williams!!! Hopefully this is a signal that Williams is ready to move forward!

  • McLarenfan

    Felipe Massa, Rob Smedley, also helping Bottas and the team with Pat Symonds they mean business.
    Lets hope they have a better start to next season and we get more radio fun with Rob

  • D.R.S

    Wohoooo!! Felipe BABY!!! SOoO happy Massa will race for a few more years to come. He deserved to stay in F1. YEs YES YEs!! I hope Williams has a better start next season.. Massa deserves all the good things !

  • Barlow

    Great News!! Good job, Felipe and Williams! I hope you guys, and your team have a very good year during the 2014 challenge, with the new engines and regs!!

  • K-15-

    Maldonado is ugly

  • SeattleF1Fan

    Wow, looks like everyone here agrees this is a great thing! Excellent! Looking forward to great results in 2014 for Williams and Masa ;)

  • sebolonso

    Massa deserves a fair chance to show he is more than Alonso’s lap dog and Williams team urgently needs the finance sponsor’s brings for Massa’s seat. Win-win situation for both parties. Bottas will be the quicker off the two.

  • Psych4191

    Maldonado deserves a drive elsewhere. I’d see him drive before Perez or any of the back marker’s drivers (minus Bianchi). He cleaned his act up this year. His only crash was in Monaco, when a rookie in a slow car made a huge mistake before the swimming pool chicane. This is how I’d like the 2014 line up to shake out:

    Ferrari: Kimi, Alonso
    McLaren: Button, Magnussen
    Mercedes: Rosberg, Hamilton
    Red Bull: Ricciardo, Vettel
    Toro Rosso: Vergne, Kyvat
    Sauber: Sirotkin/Petrov, Perez
    Williams: Massa, Bottas
    Force India: Sutil, Maldonado
    Lotus: Hulkenburg, Grosjean
    Caterham: VDG, Heikki
    Marussia: Bianchi, Chilton

    If a new team comes in, They’d do well to ask somebody like Senna, Glock, or some other veteran that has shown he can keep up and bring the car home (keeps costs down, helps move things along with technical expertise/experience).

  • Spartacus

    @K-15- Walldonado is VERY ugly!

  • Red Bull Cheats

    Massa has a lot of experience in screwing up his own races then blaming that on other drivers. He also comes with millions in sponsorship so he is clearly a pay driver. Just a different pay driver than Maldonado. I wish these older drivers would step down and let some new super fast talent have a go. I’m not blaming Massa, he wants to drive. I’m not blaming Williams, they need the money. I just don’t think this is an awesome driver going to a team for anything but money.

  • adriana

    @Red Bullcheats , massa brings money from sponsors and Ecclestone , so he is a very influencial pay driver!

  • Hugo

    “The stability of having both our drivers on multi-year contracts, Mercedes-Benz as our engine partner and a strong commercial base all contribute to the future success of the Williams F1 team.”

    Stability huh? Strong commercial base? They change a driver, turn their back on a huge sponsor and change engines yet again. They couldn’t do anything while using the same engine as Red Bull, and their technical staff sucks. They’ll be lucky to score any points next year.