Joining Williams has made Massa “feel young again”

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Felipe Massa has revealed that he is thankful for Ferrari’s decision to drop him at the end of last season, as it opened the door for him to join Williams with whom he feels “young again”.

The Brazilian driver left Ferrari at the end of 2013 after eight seasons with the Italian team to make way for Kimi Raikkonen. He found refuge at Williams after Pastor Maldonado’s departure, and has since appeared to be far more relaxed.

Speaking to German publication Bild, he confirmed that he felt rejuvenated for the move after being under pressure at Maranello.

“Looking back now, I am even glad that Ferrari did not want me because it opened the way for coming to Williams,” he explained.

“You know, sometimes a change is good. I’m pretty relaxed, motivated, the team respects me. I’m older but I feel young again.

“I’m ready to fight and work hard. I regret nothing. It was absolutely the right move.”

At Ferrari, Massa was under a great deal of pressure to emulate teammate Fernando Alonso, and was faced constant scrutiny throughout their time together. Unsurprisingly, he does not miss this pressure.

“Here at Williams I think only about the racing, which is better,” the Brazilian explained.

“At Ferrari, if you don’t win, you have a big load on your shoulders. You try to use it as positive energy, but you are constantly tense.”

Massa’s Formula 1 career does appear to have been given a new lease of life since joining Williams. Even in press conferences and walking around the paddock, he looks like a man who has had the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders.

However, he will undoubtedly be aware that he is currently being beaten by his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who is in his sophomore F1 season. The Brazilian will be keen on redressing the balance in the next few races, and without the pressure that he faced at Ferrari, he could soon return to the podium as a Williams driver.

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.