Jean Alesi: Felipe Massa’s decision to return to Formula 1 a mistake

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Jean Alesi believes that Felipe Massa has made a mistake by backtracking on his decision to retire ahead of the 2017 season.

Massa announced in September that he would no longer be racing in F1 after the 2016 season, making way at Williams for 18-year-old rookie Lance Stroll to partner Valtteri Bottas.

However, with Bottas poised to move to Mercedes as a replacement for Nico Rosberg following the latter’s shock decision to retire, Williams turned to Massa to try and bring him back for 2017.

The Brazilian offers an experience and knowledge of the team that Williams was keen to maintain for the coming season given the change in technical regulations.

Announcements concerning Bottas and Massa are expected to come soon from Mercedes and Williams respectively, with the driver market for 2017 nearing completion.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy, ex-Ferrari racer Alesi said that he believes Massa has made the wrong decision to come back to F1 after announcing his retirement.

“Honestly, to me, this is a mistake,” Alesi said.

“Felipe has stopped, he’s turned a page. And what if he discovers that the Williams isn’t quick?”

Alesi added that he did not initially understand why Rosberg had decided to retire from F1 just days after clinching his first world title.

“To start with I thought the same as [Niki] Lauda. I was surprised and angry,” Alesi said.

“Let’s say I didn’t really get the logic of announcing your retirement the same week in which you won the title.

“But then I thought about it some more and I thought of [Ayrton] Senna, of how he said he would drive for Williams for nothing and how hard he worked to make it happen and then he died.

“Perhaps Nico just didn’t feel like racing anymore.”