Jean Alesi says Felipe Massa is 'mistaken' to come back to F1

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Former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi says Felipe Massa is making a mistake by reversing his decision to retire so he can return to Williams for 2017.

Massa was an unlikely benefactor from Nico Rosberg's surprise retirement from F1 as Valtteri Bottas, the Brazilian's teammate at Williams for the past three seasons, has become the favourite for the seat. Williams only agreed to free Bottas, who looks likely to sign for Mercedes this month, from his contract once Massa accepted a deal to return as it wanted an experienced driver to partner 18-year-old Lance Stroll this year.

Massa enjoyed several emotional send-offs at the end of 2016 -- including his walk through the pit lane at his home race in Brazil -- and Alesi thinks it is wrong for him to come back when he had mentally prepared for life without F1.

"Honestly to me this is a mistaken decision," said Alesi in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. "Felipe has stopped, he's turned a page. And what if he discovers that the Williams isn't quick?"

Alesi also commented on Rosberg's decision, saying he has come to understand the logic behind why the world champion would decide to walk away from the sport.

"To start with I thought the same as [Niki] Lauda; I was surprised and angry. Let's say I didn't really get the logic of announcing your retirement the same week in which you won the title.

"But then I thought about it some more and I thought of Senna, of how he said he would drive for Williams for nothing and how hard he worked to make it happen and then he died. Perhaps Nico just didn't feel like racing any more."