Felipe Massa postpones retirement to come back and race for 2017 alongside Lance Stroll and Pat Symonds will leave the team at the end of the year.
Symonds, 63, who joined the team in 2013, is “stepping down at the end of 2016”, the team said in a statement. Symonds’ departure precedes the expected arrival at Williams of Mercedes executive director Paddy Lowe, who is to join next season.
Symonds has been in F1 for 25 years and won a total of four world titles with Michael Schumacher at Benetton in 1994-95 and Fernando Alonso at Renault in 2005-6.
Felipe Massa has accepted an offer with Williams to stay for an extra year, paving the way for Valtteri Bottas to replace world champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes. Williams has signed 18-year-old rookie Lance Stroll as one of its drivers for the 2017 season, and departing technical chief Pat Symonds had said earlier this month that it was “crucial” to retain Bottas given Stroll’s inexperience.
Williams: Felipe Massa & Lance Stroll
Bottas has always been a front running contender along with Manor driver Pascal Wehrlein. Mercedes have been concerned that Wehrlein’s inexperience would hurt the team after only 1 year in the sport. Bottas however is a great fit for the seat alongside Lewis Hamilton as he is quick and has been destined for a top seat for a long time since joining the sport in 2013.