After a spell in the doldrums Williams is a hot ticket again. Pole in Austria for Felipe Massa and a hat-trick of podiums for Valtteri Bottas make the Grove-based squad an appealing destination for 2015, though there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to replicate their current form.
On the driver front Williams’ priority should be to hang on to Bottas, whose performances this year have seen him touted as a World Champion of the future. And, with few options further up the grid, there is little reason for the Finn to depart. His long-term future is more likely to lie with Mercedes, but for now Williams should reap the benefits of his talent.
Massa has a contract for 2015 and, despite not impressing to the same degree as Bottas, he should remain on board. As well as his experience and know-how, Massa also brings a number of Brazilian sponsors to the team and that money will be crucial to Williams’ continued development.
But there is a caveat to this. Recent reports have suggested that Fernando Alonso has shown an interest in Williams as he continues to ponder leaving Ferrari. You can bet Sir Frank would love to get the Spaniard in one of his cars, as would backers Martini, while adding Alonso to the squad would undoubtedly attract several Spanish sponsors, too.
If Fernando is serious then he’d need to end his Ferrari tenure early. Ironically, Williams can directly influence this. It is believed Alonso’s contract has an escape clause should the Scudeira fail to finish among the top three in the constructors’ standings; they currently sit third, but just seven points clear of - you guessed it - Williams.
If Fernando offers his services there is little doubt the team would move heaven and earth to facilitate him. That would most likely mean giving Massa the boot, as 33-year-old Alonso is only a short-term solution compared with 24-year-old Bottas.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time Felipe’s been asked to move over for Fernando…
It is also worth mentioning the team’s other contracted drivers, Susie Wolff and Felipe Nasr. The former appears likely to remain with Williams, probably in the same role, with more practice runs in the pipeline. Nasr is at a crossroads: this should be his final year in GP2, but there is no room for him at Williams. As such he’ll need to look elsewhere to break into F1, though he could retain his links with the team.
VERDICT: Likely to remain an unchanged lineup of Bottas and Massa, though the Alonso angle makes for an intriguing rumour.