Who could replace Felipe Massa at Williams F1?
Felipe Massa has been part of the Williams F1 team since 2014, but he is under pressure to keep his seat at Williams for 2018 after a string of poor performances. He hasn’t won a race since 2008 and hasn’t scored a podium since 2015, and currently sits tenth on the standings just 4 points ahead of his rookie teammate Lance Stroll.
Lance Stroll will stay at Williams next year, but questions have been raised who will drive alongside him. Massa had previously retired at the end of the 2016 season, but a late retirement call from Nico Rosberg meant that Valtteri Bottas was promoted to a Mercedes seat leading Massa to come back for a year. But now Massa doesn’t want to retire again and has argued that Williams would be wrong not to sign him again for next season.
Massa has said, "The team should just tell me if they don't want me anymore. I have no problem with that. I retired last year and was at peace with myself. But I would like to have a clear answer before my home race in Brazil."
Age is no longer a restriction for Williams, opening up more options for the team. It is believed that Williams team co-owner Paddy Lowe is keen on singing between Paul di Resta, Robert Kubica, Pascal Wehrlein and Daniil Kvyat.
At first the decision was between di Resta and Kubica but recent talks between Wehrlein and Mercedes Boss Toto Wolff means that he is available for the Williams seat.
"Toto is speaking to every team that could be an option, including Williams. Williams would be a big step for me," Wehrlein told Auto Bild.
Wehrlein currently drives for Sauber, and is backed by Mercedes, but there were recent speculations that Mercedes was no longer supporting him. But Wolff has denied the reports.
"Williams is an independent team and decides for itself," Wolff said, "but if I decided, Pascal is by far the fastest of all the candidates and would be the right yardstick for Lance Stroll."
While Kvyat was ditched by the Red Bull team after his mediocre season.
Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost said, "He is no longer with Red Bull and therefore free to decide whatever he wants to do."
Paul di Resta recently replaced an ill Felipe Massa for the Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying and race sessions. He didn’t disappoint, he was relatively quick for someone driving the new F1 car for the first time.
But Lowe’s favorite to replace Massa is Kubica. He last drove in Formula 1 in 2010, but a severe crash before the 2011 season left him with limited mobility and it was widely believed he won’t be able to drive in F1 again. But recent testing with both Renault and Williams suggest that might not be the case.
Although, Kubica may be favored, it’s believed that di Resta was two tenths faster during their recent testing for the team.