Massa relishing Williams challenge

Andover Advertiser: Felipe Massa, pictured, will drive for Williams next season alongside Valtteri Bottas Felipe Massa, pictured, will drive for Williams next season alongside Valtteri Bottas

Felipe Massa will be following in the footsteps of a number of his idols when he sits behind the wheel of a Williams for the first time having signed for the team for next season.

The 32-year-old will end a run of eight years with Ferrari when the current campaign comes to a close in his home city of Sao Paulo later this month but he will remain in Formula One after agreeing a deal with the Oxfordshire-based marque.

Fellow Brazilian Nelson Piquet won his third and final drivers' championship with Williams in 1987, whilst compatriots Aytron Senna and Rubens Barrichello have also turned out for the team.

Massa will become the latest boy from Brazil to race for Williams after it was announced he would replace Pastor Maldonado from the 2014 season onwards, with the former Sauber driver relishing the challenge.

"Williams is one of the most successful and important teams of all time in Formula One," he said.

"It is also nice to remember that some of the best Brazilian drivers raced for Williams and cemented a strong national link with the team.

"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."

Williams have been uncompetitive so far this season with Maldonado's 10th-place finish in Hungary their only championship point to date, but Massa believes he is joining a strong outfit.

"I'm really looking forward to having a good car. I'm happy to be here, I think I chose the right team," he told Sky Sports News.

"I am lucky, I raced for Ferrari for a long time and now I am moving to Williams which is a very famous team in Formula One. I used to enjoy watching Nelson Piquet and all the many other Brazilian drivers who raced for Williams in the past."

Massa came close to securing the 2008 drivers' title during his time with the famous Italian manufacturer but lost out by a single point to Lewis Hamilton.

The sport will undergo several rule changes next season as new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines are introduced, with changes to the kinetic energy recovery (KERS) system and aerodynamic rules also leading to a new way of driving.

Massa is hoping his previous 11 years in the sport can help him adjust to the changes quickly and assist the Williams team in getting to grips with the new regulations over the course of the winter.

He said: "With such a major change of regulations in 2014, I hope my experience will be useful in helping the team in its effort to move on from a difficult period.

"Since my early days in motor racing, I don't remember seeing so many new rules in a single season and I'm fully prepared to work with everyone at Grove to make sure we find the right direction.

"I'm highly motivated to start working hard from the very beginning in what is an exciting new challenge in my career."

Valtteri Bottas has retained his seat at the team and will partner Massa next year, with the Finn looking to kick on alongside his more experienced team-mate.

"I'm very happy to be staying with the team as I embark on my second season in Formula One," he said.

"I have known everyone here for many years, firstly as a test driver and now as a race driver, so it feels like home. I have faith in Williams and I know we can do so much better in the future than our current performance shows.

"I am looking forward to having Felipe as my team-mate.

"He is a quick and experienced driver and together we will be pushing to the maximum to improve the car and get as many points as we can next season.

"We will be working throughout the winter to ensure we are ready for the challenge of 2014."

Bottas is yet to score a point in Formula One but team principal Sir Frank Williams believes the two drivers can work together well and feels the sport is yet to see the best of the Finn.

"We are delighted to be able to confirm our 2014 driver line-up and welcome Felipe into the Williams family," he said.

"Massa 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.

"Valtteri is a valued member of the team and I'm pleased he was able to demonstrate his talent in tricky conditions in Montreal [where he qualified third]. There is much more to come from him."

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