There are reports that Felipe Massa has made a deal to return to Williams just one month after his retirement from Formula 1.

It is thought that provisional terms have been accepted on a deal that would pave the way for Valtteri Bottas to leave Williams and join Mercedes as Nico Rosberg’s replacement.

The theory is that Williams’ need to have an experienced drive racing alongside rookie teenager Lance Stroll next year is the biggest obstacle to Bottas becoming Lewis Hamilton’s new teammate at Mercedes.

However, while it is thought that a deal has been agreed in principle between Williams and the Brazilian’s representative for Massa to come out of retirement, at present the contract is unsigned and it will be annulled if Bottas does not make the move to Mercedes.

At present Massa is on holiday and last week Mercedes confirmed that they won’t be making an announcement about Rosberg’s successor until next year.

So far there has been no comment on the reports from Williams and Massa’s manager, Nicolas Todt, has said that there is not yet an agreement in place between Williams and Massa.

Now the ball seems to be in Mercedes court and they need to finalise terms with Bottas, who is managed in part by Mercedes chief Toto Wolff, as well as agree to a compensation package with Williams.

On Tuesday the Grove outfit announced that Pat Symonds is standing down as their chief technical officer which leaves the position clear for Paddy Lowe, Mercedes’ technical chief, to return to the team where he started his F1 career.

It is expected that as well as reducing Williams’ fee for engine supplies Mercedes will be willing to cut Lew’s gardening leave in order to facilitate Bottas’ move in the opposite direction.