Williams’ Lance Stroll believes he and Felipe Massa will be focusing on moving the team forward in 2017 rather than fighting against one another. 2014 gave hope of a revival for Williams. The team took the only non-Mercedes pole of the season and finished the year with a double podium. Going into 2015, there were hopes Williams might be able to fight for second in the constructors’ championship, but their 2014 competitiveness didn’t carry into 2015. The trend only continued into 2016, when they lost fourth in the championship to Force India. It’s understandable why Williams and Stroll want to break this trend, and they may end up thankful to have lost future superstar Valtteri Bottas to Mercedes. It’s counterintuitive, I know. What’s better than one young, talented driver to help turn the team’s fortunes around? Two of course! Or maybe not. Massa will return to Formula One after his very brief retirement wanting to prove that he still has the pace to be in the sport, of course, but he won’t have the same motivation to beat an up-and-coming driver as Bottas would have done if put against Stroll. The Brazilian knows his days in F1 are numbered and Stroll doesn’t really pose a threat to his future career. On the other hand, Bottas would have seen Stroll as a potential competitor for any future vacancies at top teams (if Rosberg had decided to hold off for just one more year), so there would have been far more competition between the two Williams drivers. And, whilst competition is great, it might not be what Williams need right at the moment, and Stroll seems to agree. “I think it’s really important to have two drivers that want to push the team in the right direction rather than fighting against the other,” he said. “It’s obviously good to have that competitiveness in the team, and an urge to beat the driver next to you, but at the same time I think we are going to respect each other, we are going to want the best for the team, and we are going to help the team in the best way possible.” Then there’s the “team player” side of things. Whilst the days of Ferrari orders are over, Massa is still probably top of the “team player” list of the current paddock, another thing Stroll believes will work to Williams’ advantage. “That’s really all you ask for being in a team – you want someone who is a team player and someone who will help the team go forward, and not create a problem on both sides of the garage.” Short term, it may look like Williams got a bad deal replacing Bottas with Massa but, in the long term, it could work out to their advantage. For more Formula One news and discussions head over to the RaceDepartment Formula One sub forum and join in with your fellow community members. Do you agree or will losing Bottas hurt Williams more than they’ve bargained for? Let us know in the comments below!