Felipe Massa linked with retirement U-turn as Bottas Williams' exit rumours swirl
A space opened up at Mercedes after the retirement of 2016 champion Nico Rosberg23:56 Tuesday 20 December 2016, 23:56 20 Dec 2016
Newly retired Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa is expected to postpone his retirement so former Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas can join Mercedes.
According to reports, Bottas will drive alongside Lewis Hamilton next season in place of retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg, who surprisingly announced the end of his career shortly after the end of the season.
Massa emotionally ended his career after his home Grand Prix in Brazil last month. Rosberg quit the sport days later.
It is believed there won't be an official announcement until the New Year.
Mercedes' non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, a three-time champion during his own racing career, has said that January is a more likely decision date regarding a new driver.
"That is a huge discussion, really. It can take until the end of January until we know which route we are going to take," he told ServusTV in his native Austria.
BBC Sport have set a time frame of two weeks when it comes to Massa returning and Bottas making the switch from Williams to Mercedes.
Massa (35) ended an F1 career that began in 2002 at 2016 season ending Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.
He represented Sauber and Ferrari - almost winning the driver's title in 2008 - before finishing his career at Williams.
Rookie Lance Stroll was due to replace Massa for the 2017 season at Williams but now looks set to partner the Brazilian.
The very best bits delivered every weekSubscribe now