Williams is taking a “wait and see” approach on deciding Felipe Massa’s Formula 1 future, preferring to focus on its performances on-track towards the end of the 2017 season than distract itself with driver discussions.
Massa, 36, had planned to retire from F1 at the end of last season, only for world champion Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement and Valtteri Bottas’ subsequent move up to Mercedes to free up a seat at Williams once again.
Massa has appeared to enjoy a new lease of life in 2017, finding the new-style cars both fun and challenging as well as leading Williams’ charge on-track alongside rookie teammate Lance Stroll.
The Brazilian’s performances have led to suggestions he could continue for a second year beyond his planned exit from F1, but deputy team boss Claire Williams is not looking to firm anything up yet.
“Felipe has done a fantastic job, it’s been a bonus year for us. He very kindly came back and he’s really delivered for us,” Williams said.
“Obviously the past couple of races have been tough for him with his medical issue [in Hungary] but we’re through that now and we’re looking forward to him delivering for the rest of the year and we really just have to wait and see.
“I think I’ve made it really clear that the team at the moment are focusing on the constructors’ championship, we need to make sure that we consolidate our P5.
“I don’t think we’re going to close the gap to [Force India], unfortunately, but there’s a lot of teams behind us that would love to overtake us and take that P5 and we can’t afford that.
“So for us the focus really has to be on track performance at the moment rather than diluting that effort with thoughts about driver line-up.
“There’s still eight races to go, there’s plenty of time to be thinking about next year.”
The NTT IndyCar Series will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time this season but with a weekend schedule that will put the action in front of fans for the first time in 2020.
The track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course will play host to IndyCar and sports cars series over four days. The action will begin Thursday with practice and concluding with an eight-hour race Sunday featuring the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America.
The NTT IndyCar Series will hold a Friday-Saturday race doubleheader called the Harvest GP presented by GMR.
ENTRY LISTS: Who’s racing IndyCar at IMS this weekend
The name is a nod to the Harvest Classic, which was held Sept. 9, 1916 to help the track stay solvent during World War I. The event had three races of 20, 50 and 100 miles (all won by Johnny Aitken) that was the only racing held outside May at IMS from 1911-93.
A limited crowd of 10,000 will be allowed each day this weekend, and those fans will be the first to experience new video boards, concession stands, restrooms and 5G wireless connectivity.
Here’s the IndyCar weekend schedule for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Harvest GP:
(All times are Eastern)
IndyCar weekend schedule: Thursday, Oct. 1
Noon — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America test session
2:25 p.m. — IndyCar practice (NBC Sports Gold)
6:20 p.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 1 (NBC Sports Gold)
IndyCar weekend schedule: Friday, Oct. 2
10:20 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
1:40 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 (USA Network, NBC Sports Gold)
IndyCar weekend schedule: Saturday, Oct. 3
10:20 a.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC Sports Gold)
12:10 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America qualifying
2:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC, NBC Sports Gold)
5:30 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America pole shootout
IndyCar weekend schedule: Sunday, Oct. 4
10 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America race