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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.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”