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The Alfa Romeo brand is inextricably linked with Formula One history. The team won the inaugural drivers’ championship in 1950 with the often forgotten Nino Farina and the following year provided the title winning car for the legendary Juan Manue Fangio. Even after Alfa Romeo ceased to enter a team, their engines were powering the small Turin based team by the name of Osella.
The Italian team never added to the 10 race wins from the 1950/51 seasons, though they clocked up two further engine constructor victories powering a Gordon Murray designed Brabham in 1978. Throughout the 1960’s Alfa Romeo were predominantly just an engine supplier, though the Italian marque formed a works team for the 1970 and 1971 seasons.
Alfa returned for one final hurrah at the 1979 Belgium GP and finally left Formula One for good in 1985. This last stint did see them score two pole positions though also endured tragedy when their driver Patrick Depailler was killed testing for the 1980 German Grand Prix at the old Hockenheimring.
According to Sergio Marchionne, Alfa Romeo is in all probability set to make a return to formula One. Ansa.it reports the CEO of Alfa Romeo’s parent company said today, “It’s amazing how the Alfa Romeo brand remains close to people’s hearts and for this reason we are thinking of bringing it back to Formula One”.
Whilst Marchionne is not categorical about this, he is not a man to float ideas that are non-starters. “It is important for Alfa to return,” adds Marchionne, “it will be another competitor”.
The FIA invited applications for new Formula One teams again this year, though no announcement as to the outcome was ever made. Speculation will surely soon be rife about which team from Sauber, Torro Rosso or Haas is about to morph into Alfa Romeo. However, last week one of TJ13 analysts noted in the small print amendments made to the 2016 sporting regulations that Ferrari are now allowed to supply a “fourth” customer team with engines.