Marchionne: Alfa Romeo to return to Formula One

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Image from reddit contributor: keyboard_crusader

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.

12 responses to “Marchionne: Alfa Romeo to return to Formula One

  1. Ferrari is a works team + Sauber, Haas, Toro Rosso, that still leaves space for another team, i.e. the 4th customer one. So why would you have Haas or Sauber morph into Alfa?

    • Could be about the effort to increase exposure of Alfa Romeo’s brand. As we know, aside from his job as Ferrari chairman, Mr. Marchionne also the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and FCA Italy, so no wonder why he would to increase the brand exposure.

    • Could be about increasing exposure of Alfa Romeo’s brand. As we know, aside from his job as Chairman of Ferrari, Mr. Marchionne also the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and FCA Italy. No wonder, he seems really want to increase the exposure of this classic brand.

    • It really depends on the time frame. Even for 2017 it would be very difficult to build a new team, so unless they are buying an existing operation, 2018 would be the earliest they could grace the grid.

    • Right with you, Prof. How about Austin Mini, Morris Mini-minor, Riley Elf and Wolsey Hornet – not bad, four variants of one car. And that’s without mentioning the Vanden Plas ‘luxury’ version.

      • Sorry to be picky but the Vanden Plas badge was not used on the mini – most notable it was used on the 1100/1300 model and others later when it was no more than a trim badge

        • Hmm…. my rummaging around on Mini specialist sites suggests that there were a few built up in the VP workshops in the early days but between ’78 and ’80 there was a production run (by a BL off-shoot, Leykor) for South Africa. You are right, though, that the ‘VP’ tag in later years related only to the trim level and that’s the case with the Leykor cars. Maybe it’s the specials I’m remembering.

          Anyway, as you note, the 1100/1300 model range was a more common sight, as was (gasp) the Allegro VP. 1970s British automotive engineering at its height, I’d say.

  2. “Bringing the brand back to F1” doesn’t necessarily mean as a manufacturer, does it ? Could be as a title sponsor, e.g. Alfa-Romeo Sauber, or an engine re-name. That said, I can’t see Haas wanting to dilute their image in their first season, no doubt Toro Rosso will do what DM says and Sauber has been touted on another site as being a customer for Honda engines in 2017 (yes, really).

    Of course, I suppose that Alfa could become a Haas B team……. sorry, technical partner……

  3. According to the FIA interpretations FERRARI will be supplying engines to four teams in 2016, three customer teams and their own factory team, one of the customer teams will be supplied with year old engine engines of which are excluded from performance development (the use of development tokens).

  4. Your honour, if I may disagree, Marchionne said it is “difficult” to see Ferrari competing with Alfa Romeo. The detail got lost in translation I presume. We knew already that Alfa will go racing, sometime, somewhere. Rumors had it about an Alfa logo on someone else’s engine but it did not happen. Four cylinder Alfa engines are made in Fiat, six & eight cylinder Alfas are made in Maranello. Alfa Romeo’s design office was dismantled a generation ago so we are talking about brands and logos, not the real stuff!

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