Sir Frank Williams and his F1 Team have announced their lineup for 2014. Those drivers will include Valtteri Bottas as was already known or understood, but with today’s announcement came a small surprise. The Willimams #1 driver for 2014 will be Filepe Massa.
Massa has had a great career and helped Ferrari win constructors titles in 2007-2008. He has frequently challenged for the Drover’s Title as well, narrowly missing this achievement in 2008, falling 1 point short to Lewis Hamilton. But even with these accolades, Massa has a reputation (among fans at least) to be an underachiever, and for lack of handling skills having crashed his Ferrari multiple times in the 2013 campaign, including twice during the weekend at Monaco in two almost identical shunts.
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal commented, “It is very exciting for us to be able to…
…confirm our 2014 driver line-up as part of a number of announcements we will be making over the coming weeks. Felipe has demonstrated his talent and speed over the years, as well as his ability to help motivate and drive a team to championship success, and we are extremely pleased that he will be joining us as we embark on our 2014 campaign. Valtteri is an exciting, young talent who has done a solid job for us in his rookie season and we are looking forward to giving him the equipment he deserves to show just how good he is.
“This announcement is a key step towards our goal of returning Williams to the front of the grid, and part of our on-going plans to ensure we are stronger in 2014 and beyond. The stability of having both our drivers on multi-year contracts, Mercedes-Benz as our engine partner and a strong commercial base all contribute to the future success of the Williams F1 Team.”
With the Turbo V6 engines and a plethora of rules changes for 2014, going “veteran” is a smart move for Williams. Perhaps this will bring back the success that eluded Williams for the past decade. Williams has not had a top 5 finish in the Constructors Championship since 2007, a top three since 2003, and has not won the title since Jacques Villenevue and Heinz Harold Franzen teamed up to win it for Williams in 1997.