London: Felipe Massa will replace Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado at Williams in 2014, the Formula One team announced on Monday.Valtteri Bottas will remain as the former champions’ other driver. Massa, 32, has raced for Ferrari since 2006 with 11 grands prix wins during that period. He missed out on the world championship by a single point in 2008 to Britain’s Lewis Hamilton.
According to the motorsport website, Autosport the announcement also seals Pastor Maldonado’s departure, suggesting the ending of the team’s sponsorship deal with Venezuelan oil giant PDVSA is now complete even though the team refused to comment on the situation.
Massa became available for 2014 after Ferrari decided to replace him with Kimi Raikkonen, and team principal Frank Williams revealed the Brazilian’s experience was a key factor in the decision to sign him on what is described as a “multi-year” deal.
“We are delighted to be able to confirm our 2014 driver line-up and welcome Felipe into the Williams family,” he said.”He is an exceptional talent and a real fighter on the race track; he also brings a wealth of experience as we begin a new chapter in our story.”
Massa described racing for Williams as a dream and cited the link between the two countries established by the fact that so many Brazilians have raced for it in the past.The 32-year-old will be the sixth Brazilian to race for the team after Ayrton and Bruno Senna, Nelson Piquet, Rubens Barrichello and Antonio Pizzonia.
“Williams is one of the most successful and important teams of all time in Formula 1. 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’s also nice to remember that some of the best Brazilian drivers raced for Williams and cemented a strong national link with the team.”