Williams has confirmed that it will retain Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas for the 2016 Formula 1 season.
The team had an option on Massa’s contract to extend his deal for another year, with expectations being that the Brazilian would stay on for a third consecutive season.
Bottas had been linked and considered the heavy favorite to Kimi Raikkonen’s seat over at Ferrari, but with the Italian team picking up Raikkonen’s option for 2016 much of the talk surrounding the Williams driver has been relaxed in recent weeks.
The move to retain both drivers also puts to rest any speculation that the team was pursuing McLaren’s Jenson Button, whom had been rumored to reunite with his original team in 2016 if either driver wouldn’t return.
As it stands, McLaren has yet to extend Button’s contract beyond this season.
For Massa, it means he will return for a staggering 14th season and is en route to surpass 250 Formula 1 starts.
“I’m delighted to confirm that Felipe and Valtteri will be racing for Williams once again next year,” said team boss Sir Frank Williams. “Stability is key for any team to thrive in Formula One, so to be able to enter a third season with one of the strongest driver line-ups on the grid 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. 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.”
The video of the announcement can be seen below:
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) September 3, 2015