Williams will retain its driver line-up of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa for the 2016 F1 season, the team has confirmed.
Team principal Frank Williams said the pairing is “one of the strongest driver line-ups on the grid” and “puts Williams in a fantastic position to continue its momentum towards the front of the grid in 2016”.
“Felipe’s blend of experience and raw speed is a rare attribute in Formula One,” Williams continued. “Felipe thrives in an environment where he is valued and can build a long-term relationship and we are delighted that he has become such an important part of the Williams family.”
“Valtteri has become such a staple of Williams that we are as excited about the prospect of his potential as a championship contender as we are about returning the Williams name to the top of Formula One.”
Bottas had been linked with a move to Ferrari until Kimi Raikkonen was confirmed to be staying with them. “We have been getting stronger as a team and I look forward to what next year will bring,” said Bottas, “I believe we can achieve even stronger results than what we have seen so far.”
Massa said he is “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. ”
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34 comments on “Bottas and Massa stay at Williams for 2016”
The Blade Runner (@)
3rd September 2015, 10:19
With recent Ferrari and Williams line-up confirmations I’m unsure what this will mean for Jenson Button. McLaren need to accommodate Vandoorne and Magnussen or risk losing the talents they have nurtured.
3rd September 2015, 10:34
@thebladerunner I don’t like to say it but I think Magnussen is already a driver of the past. Button was two years ago…
3rd September 2015, 10:50
@thebladerunner, Personally I hope Jenson decides to retire from F1 himself and goes on to do whichever thing he likes. He could do WEC + some rallly + get a family which he said he wouldn’t do as long as he was in F1.
Charles King (@charleski)
3rd September 2015, 11:57
The only rational reason for Jenson to stay on at McLaren would be the salary. Even with a pay-cut, the £8m he’s getting is probably a lot more than WEC could provide. He can’t honestly claim he’s enjoying F1 at the back of the pack.
Fer no.65 (@fer-no65)
3rd September 2015, 13:47
@charleski yeah but WEC means a lot less activity during the year :P So he can enjoy his money a lot more.
3rd September 2015, 10:20
To me Massa is great at defending, not great at passing, while Bottas is weak in traffic generally. They’re both quick in free air. It’s not a bad pairing, but not the best either. I would certainly swap in Hulk, and maybe somebody else too because it’s a bit of a B team I think.
3rd September 2015, 10:35
@lockup I agree they are not the best but they are possibly the best (available) for Williams. A talented driver and a very experienced talented one.
3rd September 2015, 10:44
Yeah, I agree that they have a solid package right now. Massa is doing solid enough at Williams and its not as if they have any immediate need or opportunity to sign a superstar in his place anyway.
And Bottas seems to be decent enough, all teams value him so its a positive to keep that lineup and get the car working better as well as putting some focus in cutting down on mistakes
3rd September 2015, 10:50
Must admit I’m not sure about the talent level @xtwl. I can’t help thinking the hype around Bottas is about his nationality and being so calm and just such a nice guy.
Massa is good value with his funding, but I’d rather have Perez or Grosjean in the car, personally. Though the car and team aren’t the best either of course, as you kinda say, so I guess there’s some wishful thinking in my head over it.
3rd September 2015, 10:54
@lockup By talented I mean worthy of an F1 mid-filed top seat. I don’t see him as the next big man of F1 either.
3rd September 2015, 13:05
Quite strange to announce such line up that early. It does the job but not really appealing and you can say there is not a lot between them. Why not keep Bottas as result guarantee and play a card on another driver ?
Hulk would have been a great choice, but he has been there before and depending on his experience (and the possibility to race in WEC), he could have declined it. They could take advantage of the leftover from McLaren and are probably the best team to do so because there won’t be enough seats for the four of them and Williams is a good pick for any driver not making McLaren.
I have the impression teams are quite conservative lately with their drivers line up …
3rd September 2015, 13:32
@jeanrien I think it is too early for Lynn to come into F1. I’m expecting him and Bottas in 2017.
3rd September 2015, 13:36
Sauber and Ferrari are even earlier.
Last year, Toro Rosso anounced this ahead of Spa, they changed at the end of last year though.
3rd September 2015, 15:14
Bottas had some great recovery races in 2014.
Massa is really the one who is bad in traffic. He generally moves backwards during a race if he has competitors close to him.
3rd September 2015, 10:31
So no Button at Williams, good. retire the man and let Vandoorne in.
3rd September 2015, 10:44
It’s really great to let both drivers to sit together to announce this. I can see this will be copied.
Good job, Ogg!
3rd September 2015, 10:57
Good decision. Arguably the most closely matched pairing over the past 30 races. Both very competitive, and with Massa having more luck this season with staying out of trouble, both very valuable point snatchers. It’s hard to see how Williams could’ve improved their line-up significantly without hiring one of the top 3 names of the sport, and spending obscene amounts of money.
3rd September 2015, 11:00
So another year for Alex Lynn in GP2 then. Honestly I don’t find Williams line-up particularly interesting, but they do form a decent team. I can’t see them taking a step forward though, and I expect Williams to struggle to get on the podium next year. Mercedes will continue to be at the front, Ferrari will improve a lot I think, and Red Bull will be extremely quick once they get Mercedes engines, or even upgraded Renault engines. I think Bottas realized this and was looking for a way out, but has now settled with making the best of what he’s got.
3rd September 2015, 11:30
I hope with another year in GP2, Williams realize that potential is at least the equal of experience and give Alex Lynn a much deserved drive. Alex is among the most professional and manicured drivers in the junior ladder, and ever since his Macau win in 2013 has looked to be riding a wave of momentum [after perhaps missing some personal targets in F3]. Although on occasion suffering his lack of experience in GP2 this year (in what is a thoroughly experience driven formula), he has nonetheless looked to comfortably have pace over his DAMS teammate and former Red Bull stablemate, Pierre Gasly (a man with a thoroughly enviable CV, having beaten Olly Rowland to the 2013 FR2.0 title and finished runner-up to Sainz in FR3.5 last year).
I am not saying that Williams have the most urgent junior backlog to clear – McLaren look to have Belgium’s answer to the team’s 2007 rookie, they just need to see how he compares to Fernando Alonso.
3rd September 2015, 11:34
This has got to be the most boring silly season ever. Nobody moves, and almost all driver announcements done before the Italian Grand Prix.
3rd September 2015, 11:52
With so many changes in 2014 and 2015, I don’t think it’s too surprising that the driver line-ups aren’t going to be changing greatly for next year.
Mind you, the engine silly season is appearing very interesting.
3rd September 2015, 13:28
This is the year of tyre silly season.
3rd September 2015, 14:48
Yes, this could be the least silly silly season since 2004, which was as boring off the track as on it.
Haas would do well to make a fittingly tedious choice of two experienced but underwhelming drivers, like Vergne and Gutierrez.
I can see everybody else staying put, but I’m least certain about Button and Maldonado, and the Manor drivers. What if Manor get Mercedes engines?
3rd September 2015, 16:43
2009, where the only changes were Vettel to Red Bull and Buemi to Toro Rosso.
3rd September 2015, 11:41
This has looked on the cards since it was announced that Kimi would be staying at Ferrari. I think they are a good driver line up who seem to work reasonably well together, and Bottas cannot get a better seat right now with both Mercedes and Ferrari seats taken up. Massa has restored his reputation and in my view has actually been the slightly better of the two drivers this season.
However, the limitation is that they are both ‘good’ rather than ‘great’, if we compare them to past Williams line ups I think they are more R. Schumacher/Montoya than Piquet/Mansell, to put it one way. I do still wonder what Fernando Alonso could have achieved with this package. I’m not saying that he would have moved there, or even would now, just that I don’t think either Bottas or Massa have that little bit extra that Alonso possesses. I’d be interested to see how Hulkenberg would have fare with this car too, it’s better than any of the ones he has driven.
Part of me would have liked to have seen Jenson Button end his career by going back to Williams, but after this announcement I think that chance has probably gone now. I guess it was never meant to be given that he lost his place to Montoya after his debut season and the contract disputes a decade ago when he was at BAR. I suspect this may now turn out to be Jenson’s final season, and if so I hope he has a farewell befitting a world champion. Then again, I’d have probably said the same about his former team mate Barrichello in 2008, and look what happened the following year…
3rd September 2015, 11:58
Quite a boring decision. I find both drivers incredibly uninspiring.
I don’t know if it is just coincidence, but a couple of days after Hulk announced his 2 year contract with Force India… and then Williams confirms their line up. I think Williams would be silly not to try and sign Hulk. He is definitely better than either of their drivers.
3rd September 2015, 13:04
Many people are saying the same thing, but no sources revealed anything like that this year and last year. Hulk was only considered as the replacement of Bottas if he left for Ferrari.
But I can see FI could have better cars than Williams in 2016
3rd September 2015, 13:10
@todfod As you said, both annoucements are too close to have no link between them. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was any discussion with Hulk but inconclusive thus leading Hulk to stay at FI and Williams to stick with their current driver (what other choice than that or McLaren left over).
Excuse me :D (@square-route)
3rd September 2015, 11:59
Mark Thomson (@melthom)
3rd September 2015, 12:10
Why do Finns always look so depressed? What’s wrong with them? Kimi, Bottas and before Hakkinen and others, same thing.
3rd September 2015, 12:26
You come live up here 8 months in the murky darkness, wet and gray.
We get two months of beautiful bright snowy winter and two months of beautiful lush summers, but 2/3 of our year is basically shades of gray.
3rd September 2015, 16:46
Fifty of them?
Mark Thomson (@melthom)
3rd September 2015, 16:58
Not an explanation. Now there in a formula 1 car, making millions, going to the hottest jetset places on earth, almost always sunny, and are having girls, girls, girls. Yet, totally depressed.
3rd September 2015, 18:15
They’re not driving rally cars :P
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