Felipe Massa unretires, returns to Williams in F1's silliest silly season on record

And it's all Nico Rosberg's fault.

Athletes bouncing back from retirement isn't unusual. Michael Jordan did it (after an ill-advised attempt at baseball). Brett Favre did it. And in Formula 1, Michael Schumacher did it. Now, Felipe Massa is doing it, returning to the Williams F1 team after what's probably the shortest retirement in racing history. And it's all Nico Rosberg's fault.

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.

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