Felipe Massa has reportedly agreed to cancel retirement plans and return to Formula One for the 2017 campaign to replace Mercedes-bound Valtteri Bottas.
BBC Sport reports that Williams has agreed a deal with the Brazilian driver, who announced his retirement from the sport in September, to postpone his plans for at least another year as they are keen to have an experienced driver partner rookie Lance Stroll next season. Bottas is Mercedes' first choice to replace the now retired reigning world champion Nico Rosberg, and it is believed both the deals are close to completion.
The Silver Arrows team have revealed that they will not announce their new driver lineup until the New Year, but are said to have held talks with the Grove-based team about signing the Finn. They are reluctant to let their number one driver leave ahead of the 2017 season, which will see yet another overhaul of the rules and regulations. However, a hefty compensation package on their engine deal with Mercedes is likely to sway their minds and allow Bottas to become Lewis Hamilton's new teammate.
Massa's manager Nicolas Todt made it clear that no deal has been agreed between his client and Williams with the holdup said to be due to the reigning constructor's champions' slow progress in terms of signing a replacement
"No agreement is in place between Williams and Felipe Massa," Todt told Sky Sports.
The post-season merry-go-round is set to continue even on the technical front with Paddy Lowe looking likely to move to Williams from Mercedes after the former's technical chief Pat Symonds stepped down. The current Mercedes executive director (technical) will run the Williams team alongside deputy team principal Claire Williams.
James Allison, who quit Ferrari midway through the 2016 campaign, is poised to replace Lowe at Mercedes after he returns from gardening leave in the summer of 2017.