Williams the only Formula 1 team Massa would return for

Felipe Massa says Williams is the only Formula 1 team that could have persuaded him to reverse his decision to retire

Williams the only Formula 1 team Massa would return for

The Brazilian called time on his F1 career at the end of last season, concluding a career that spanned 14 seasons including a narrow title loss with Ferrari in 2008.

Bottas leaves Williams, Massa returns

But when world champion Nico Rosberg announced his shock retirement in December and Valtteri Bottas became the frontrunner to replace him at Mercedes, a Massa U-turn became a possibility.

Massa wanted to continue racing and had explored options for a full 2017 programme in other series but when Williams offered him the seat - as it needed a driver with experience alongside rookie Lance Stroll - he chose to return.

"I have a passion for racing, for competing and for fighting on the track," said Massa, who has contested 250 grands prix.

"My return is not about seeing Formula 1 as the best option, but is about seeing the role at Williams as the best option.

"I would not have returned for any other team.

"My intention was always to race somewhere, as I still have the passion for racing and competing.

"I also have a strong love for Williams as I have enjoyed the last three years with the team, and therefore coming back to help give stability and experience to drive things forward in 2017 was something that felt right to do."

FANS PLAYED A PART IN DECISION

Massa admitted the huge fan response to suggestions he could return played a part in his decision to say yes to Williams.

"When the media began reporting that I might return, I was touched by the response from so many fans who wanted to see me back," he said.

"That was certainly a factor in the decision, so I'd like to thank the fans for their support.

"But, at the end of the day, when I received the call it was an offer I couldn't refuse. It was Williams.

"When I joined Williams back in 2014 I found a team - and a family - that I have loved being a part of.

"I certainly haven't lost the desire to race and fight on track.

"Whatever I would have turned my hand to this year, I would have been putting 100% effort into doing the best job that I can, and if I didn't have that passion, I would not have agreed to return."

When asked about the length of the deal, Massa said: "At present this is a deal for 2017 only and I have not thought beyond."

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