Williams’ chief technical officer Paddy Lowe has revealed Felipe Massa was seeking assurances over 2018 too early for the team to commit to him.

The case of Lance Stroll’s mystery team-mate for next season will drag on until January, where the Grove-based team are expected to announce Sergey Sirotkin, Daniil Kvyat or Robert Kubica as the final driver to complete the 2018 grid.

Lowe said that Massa would have also been in contention, despite his initial plans to retire after the 2016 season, but the Brazilian wanted answers before Williams were in position to give them.

“With the timing of it all, Felipe needed a decision before Brazil,” Lowe told Motorsport.com.

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