Following Nico Rosberg's shock retirement, Mercedes F1 would really like to sign Williams' Valtteri Bottas to drive alongside Lewis Hamilton. Williams is ok with letting Bottas go, but only if the team can replace him with a suitably experienced driver. Recently-retired Williams driver Felipe Massa might be the guy for the job.
, Williams convinced Massa to sign on for the 2017 season, but only if Bottas is picked up by Mercedes. Massa's contract with Williams will be announced officially after Mercedes announces that it's hired Bottas, which the team won't do before the new year.
Massa, who began his F1 career in 2002, first announced his retirement in September, saying that he "managed to achieve [his] dream." He never won a Driver's Championship, though, coming second to Lewis Hamilton by just one point in the 2008 season.
Williams wants someone with experience to replace Bottas since its second driver, Lance Stroll, is a rookie.
There's another issue with Stroll as well–he's a teenager driving for a team sponsored by an alcohol company. His age means Martini can't use Stroll's image in any advertising, so Williams needs to pair him with an older driver to satisfy its main sponsor.
Interestingly, Mercedes F1's non-executive chairman Niki Lauda says the team is still deciding who it wants to take Rosberg's seat. , Lauda says it may be many weeks before we find out who Mercedes hires.
"We are still making up our minds," said Lauda. "That's a huge discussion, really. It can take until the end of January until we know which route we are going to take."
If Massa were to rejoin Williams, it would be yet another shock in what's become a crazy 2016 F1 season. Unfortunately, though, it doesn't sound like we'll find out Massa's plans for sure until the new year.