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GP Week : Issue 195
F1 >>> nEWs In a two-year deal with a third year option, Felipe Massa has announced that he will join Valtteri Bottas at Williams in 2014 after Pastor Maldonado made the decision to leave the Grove outfit at the end of this year. The Williams signing has put to bed endless speculation over Massa’s future, which saw him in a putative link with Lotus and even leaving Formula One altogether. But in similar circumstances to compatriot Rubens Barrichello, Massa’s move from Ferrari number two to a lead driver role at Grove could be just the tonic required to restore his confidence. “Williams is one of the most successful and important teams of all time in Formula One,” Massa said when the announcement was made. “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. It is also nice to remember that some of the best Brazilian drivers raced for Williams and cemented a strong national link with the team.” Those strong national links are an attribute that Claire Williams hopes to draw upon in Williams’ quest for sponsors in Brazil. With Maldonado’s departure, Claire has confirmed that Williams will end their association with Venezuelan oil company PDVsA and will now need to secure more revenue when the PDVsA severance package dries up. “I think Brazil is one of the sport’s biggest markets,” the deputy team principal said. “so it’s really up to us to go out and commercialize Felipe as our driver. We’ve been operating and looking for sponsorship in the Brazilian market for a long time now. We’ve had great Brazilian drivers in the past, so we will be going out to Brazil to see what we can do out there.” While the prospect of Mercedes’ engines being one of the more competitive packages on the 2014 grid may have swayed Massa’s decision to join Williams, further suggestions that Rob smedley – Massa’s race engineer and mentor since 2006 – is also contemplating a move to Grove in a senior engineering role would have no doubt sweetened the deal. smedley’s own relationship with Ferrari was tested upon being asked to deliver the infamous team order message to his driver at Hockenheim in 2010. With Massa entering the twilight of his career, the next Formula One Brazilian hope could come in the form of GP2 front-runner Felipe Nasr. With a reported $15 million in backing, Nasr has already been in talks with Lotus, but a drive is unlikely to materialise before 2015. Adding to the speculation of more Brazilians on the grid is Brazilian television network Globo’s announcement that they will be broadcasting every grand prix next year. FELIPE SECURES HIS F1 FUTURE 8 GPWEEK.com // 8 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: