Felipe Massa is open to extending his Formula 1 career through to the 2018 season with Williams, saying he has started to enjoy racing in the sport more after un-retiring over the winter.
Massa had been due to end his F1 career in Abu Dhabi last year, only for a seat with Williams to arise following Nico Rosberg’s shock decision to retire and Mercedes’ move for Valtteri Bottas.
Massa, who made his F1 race debut in 2002, has been in a fine vein of form so far this season with Williams, scoring 20 points through the opening eight races, and was in the fight for a podium in Baku before being forced to retire.
In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Massa admitted that he was enjoying F1 more than before, having been given a second chance in the sport by Williams.
“I am enjoying it more. It was a big decision to carry on, but once you have taken up that new challenge it also makes you happy,” Massa said.
“I am with a team that likes and respects me a lot – and they listen to me. That all makes you happy, and that is what you see.”
When asked if there was a chance he could continue racing in F1 next year, Massa said: “Maybe, yes. I mentioned that some weeks ago, yes.
“Things are going well. I feel very competitive, as I like the car that I am driving. I love the new rules. For my driving style everything works very well. The only thing that has to be sorted out is the ‘luck issue’!
“So I don’t see any point not carrying on. But I am not in a hurry. I enjoy my situation race by race, and then the time will come to make the talking.
“I am sure it will not take long.”
The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.
As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.
Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.
Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.
Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.
Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.
One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.
The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.