OCTOBER 25, 2013
Massa management denies Williams deal done
A member of Felipe Massa's management team has denied as "fantasy" reports the Brazilian has penned a five-year Williams contract.
Alessandro Aluni Bravi, who according to O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper works with Massa's manager Nicolas Todt, denied the report that appeared on a Brazilian website on Thursday.
"Felipe has already expressed that racing with Williams in 2014 would be a good option," he said, "but still there is nothing certain.
"Firstly," Bravi added, "who signs a five year contract today in formula one?
"Sebastian renewed for two seasons, Lewis has a three-year commitment with Mercedes. But this (report about Massa) is information without origin and it could only (adversely) affect the negotiations."
Bravi continued: "Williams is just one of the scenarios for us. We have talked with Lotus, Force India and Sauber as well.
"But we have not got to the level of discussing the contract term and details of how our relationship with the team would be," he added.
However, the rumour goes that if Massa does arrive at Williams, his sponsor Petrobras would replace PDVSA, the Venezuelan oil company, as well as Pastor Maldonado.
Speaking in India, Maldonado did little to quell the speculation.
"If I decide to leave," he is quoted by Spain's EFE news agency, "someone has to come to the team and I would wish Felipe well, to continue (in F1).
"It is not yet decided, so let's see what happens in this final part of the season," Maldonado added.
Williams' deputy team boss Claire Williams, however, played down the Massa link.
"We are not in a position to announce our driver lineup, so I can't comment on these rumours," she told Brazil's Totalrace.
"It is pure speculation," added Williams, who did acknowledge Massa's skills, history and experience.
"Felipe has a great history in the sport," she said. "He is an experienced driver and Williams is always interested in talents such as Felipe.
"But at the moment we have two drivers under contract who are doing a great job for us," Williams added, also referring to Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas.
But she fanned the flames when she referred to Williams' own great history of working with Brazilian drivers, such as Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Rubens Barrichello.
"Historically, we've had some great Brazilian drivers and we always get on well with them," said Williams.
"I think it has to do with the passion that the two sides have for the sport -- it makes a good fit."
Meanwhile, Williams played down a sporting corruption scandal in Venezuela that some say could affect Maldonado's sponsorship backing.
"We have a contract with PDVSA," she said, "and to our knowledge, this investigation has nothing to do with us."
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