Felipe Massa is in "advanced talks" with Williams about reversing his decision to retire and return to the team in 2017 if Valtteri Bottas moves to Mercedes, according to a report in L'Equipe.
Bottas' place at Williams suddenly looks in doubt as he has emerged the favourite to replace Nico Rosberg, who retired from F1 less than a week after winning his first world title. Massa stepped away from F1 after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, his 250th career start, but could be back in white overalls for 2017 if the team loses Bottas.
Though Williams refused to comment on the news of Mercedes' approach for Bottas, the L'Equipe report suggests the team is preparing a contingency plan if the Finn does depart. Technical chief Pat Symonds has said Bottas' experience is crucial for Williams in 2017 as it has signed 18-year-old Canadian Lance Stroll.
Massa's extensive experience would make him a perfect candidate to replace Bottas and would solve the potential dilemma Williams would face in a driver market thin on available candidates.
The report goes on to state Williams will be given a £8.4 million discount on its power unit supply by Mercedes if it releases Bottas from his contract to join the world champions.