Williams boss Paddy Lowe has revealed exactly why Felipe Massa decided to retire from Formula One for the second time in his career.
However, unlike the last time, this one seems to be a permanent decision with no going back.
Massa had provided Williams with a deadline for when his future had to have been decided, but after they failed to meet his cut-off point with a decision, the Brazilian was forced into retirement for a second time.
Having already driven one ‘farewell’ race a year before in his home town of Sao Paulo, the move of Valtteri Bottas from Williams to Mercedes saw the Brazilian accept a one-year contract extension.
Bottas left Williams due to Nico Rosberg's shock retirement from Mercedes, leaving Toto Wolff and co. needing a driver to partner Lewis Hamilton.
This was with consideration of an extension, but Williams’ inability to provide Massa with a definitive answer on his future led to his retirement, for good this time.
“With the timing of it all, Felipe needed a decision before Brazil," Williams boss Paddy Lowe told Motorsport.com.
"We weren't able to. He was still in the running and was a strong candidate.
“But we weren't able to make that commitment at that point. So we agreed that he would drop out of considerations and retire from the team."
Massa’s retirement leaves a gap in the market for unemployed drivers in desperate need of securing a deal with an F1 team.
Williams are thought to have reduced the number of potential replacements down to three, with Robert Kubica, Russian’s Sergey Sirotkin, and Daniil Kvya all believed to be in the running for a contract.
But, it is Sirotkin who has emerged as favourite for the deal after impressive times during recent testing in Abu Dhabi.
He is also backed by around £15million of sponsorship. However, Kubica is now thought to have tabled a similar, but smaller, offer in his efforts to win the seat.
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