See, when Rosberg shocked the racing world with a surprise retirement announcement following his 2016 championship, it set about a domino effect. Mercedes-AMG needed a replacement for Rosberg and wanted Valtteri Bottas, Massa's former teammate. In exchange, the 2016 champs offered the mid-pack Williams team a hefty discount on Mercedes engines, the BBC reports.
While the cost savings is great for Williams, finding two capable drivers is a challenge for even top-flight F1 teams, let alone the fifth-place finisher in 2016. Rather than leave his team in a bind for 2017, then, Massa agreed to put off his retirement and race next season. Massa's return to Williams was motivated, in part, by the team's title sponsor, Martini – according to the BBC, the team needs a driver over the age of 25 to promote its sponsor's potent potables. Can someone Photoshop a "Good Guy Massa" meme? Thanks.
The 35-year-old Brazilian will partner with 18-year-old Canadian rookie/pay driver Lance Stroll next season.