Alfa Romeo SpA


Italian flag

 
Principles Giampaulo Pavanello ITA (1984-85)
Carlo Chiti ITA (1979-83)
Designers Luigi Marmiroli ITA (1984-85)
Gerard Ducarouge
FRA (1982-83)
Carlo Chiti ITA (1979-81)
Robert Choulet FRA (1979-81)
Gioacchino Colombo ITA (1937-51)
Vittorio Jano ITA (1923-32)

Alfa Romeo F1 History & Team Record

Alfa Romeo's involvement in Grand Prix racing dates back to 1923 when Vittorio Jano was brought in from Fiat and spearheaded much success from 1925's Automobile World Championship on. His incredible P3 design from 1932 is regarded as the first modern single-seater racing car and was driven to may victories by Tazio Nuvolari and Rudolf Caracciola. When Alfa Corse ran into financial trouble and closed its doors at the end of the season the team manager, Enzo Ferrari, setup his own team to run the cars - Scuderia Ferrari.

The factory returned to competition in 1938 with the 158 Voiturette (1.5L class) but its run of initial success was stopped by World War II. When Formula One was created in 1947 Alfa Romeo formed a team using a modified version of the pre-war car, called the Tipo 158/47 and enjoyed enormous success.

When the Formula One World Championship was created for 1950 the works Alfa Romeo team totally dominated taking the win, pole position and fastest lap at all six events they entered (the Indianapolis 500 was also included in the championship) and Nino Farina winning the title.  Had there been a Manufacturers Championship they would have crushed the competition. The car was slightly modified for 1951 and the team continued its run of success, despite strong competition from Ferrari, with Juan Manuel Fangio taking his first World Drivers' Championship.

For 1953 it was decided to run the World Championship to Formula Two regulations, thereby making the 159 obsolete. Rather than build a new car Alfa Romeo decided to withdraw from Formula One and concentrate on sportscar racing. Remarkably during the 1950 and 1951 seasons, the team had used just nine engine blocks - all of which had been manufactured before World War II.

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers Starts Wins Poles F Lap Pts Pos
1950 158 Alfa Romeo 158 L8S PI Fangio
Farina
Fagioli
Parnell (1 race) / Taruffi (1 race)  / Sanesi (1 race)

6

6

6

6

-

-

1951 159 Alfa Romeo 159 L8S PI Fangio
Farina
Sanesi (4 races)
De Graffenried (3 races) / Fagioli (1 race) / Pietsch (1 race)
Bonetto (4 races)

7

5

4

7

-

-

       

TOTALS:

13 11 10 13 -  

The company officially set up a racing department, Autodelta SpA, in March 1963 under Carlo Chiti to run the Alfa Romeo Guilia TZ sports car program. The TZ engine appeared a few times in F1 during the 60's with Scuderia Serenissima entering a De Tomaso powered by the Alfa Romeo 4 (1.5L 4 cylinder) at the 1961 Italian GP and a handful of privateers using the engine at the South African GP in 1962, 1963 and 1965.

The quest for World Sportscar Championship victory against the Porsche factory cars led to the development of the Tipo 33 program. Autodelta developed various engines including the 3.0L V8 33/3 in 1969. For the 1970 F1 season the engine was supplied to McLaren who ran third car for factory sportscar driver Andrea de Adamich but the combination was slow and unreliable. In 1971 they tried a similar program with March for De Adamich and Nanni Galli but the results were just as disappointing and the F1 program was dropped.

Changes to the World Sportscar Championship rules saw Chiti and Autodelta develop a 3.0L flat 12 engine, the 15-112 which won the championship in 1975 (and again in 1977). Despite the success of their Ford powered cars the owner of the Brabham F1 team, Bernie Ecclestone, seeking an advantage over their similarly powered rivals approached Alfa Romeo and negotiated a free supply of the 15-112 engines for use from 1976 on.

The relative success of the Alfa-powered Brabham team allowed Carlo Chiti to convince Alfa to return to F1 with a works team. Bruno Giacomelli tested the 15-112 powered 177 chassis extensively before appearing at Zolder for the Belgian GP and then again in France (the team skipped Monaco). The team disappeared until September when they debuted the ground effect, V12 powered 179 at the Italian GP with a second car for Vittorio Brambilla, running the final 3 races of the season.

Giacomelli in the 177 at its Belgian GP debut Brazil 1980: Giacomelli in the 179 Giacomelli in the 179B at the 1981 French GP

Patrick Depailler was brought in to partner Giacomelli for 1980 and his development skills help improve the car's speed but it continued to be very unreliable. Tragedy then struck when the Frenchman was killed in testing at Hockenheim before the German GP. The team continued with one car until Brambilla returned for two races and then the team ran their young protege, Andrea de Cesaris for the final two GP. In the final race of the year at Long Beach, Giacomelli took pole and was leading easily when an electrical  failure put him out once again. 

In something of a coup former World Champion Mario Andretti signed with the team for 1981 following a couple of disappointing seasons with Lotus. After a fourth place finish in the opening race the retirements piled up and Andretti did not score points again, while Giacomelli did not score until the final two races. De Cesaris rejoined the team for 1982 in place of Andretti but the strings of retirements remained the same with a pole (Long Beach) and podium (Monaco) for De Cesaris the only bright spots. At this time the Alfa board began to lose patience with the F1 program and from 1983 the cars were run by the Euroracing team with Autodelta supplying the engines.

Alfa Romeo unveiled its turbocharged engine for 1983 but the V8 design made it very heavy and overly complex, leading once again to a string of mechanical failures. De Cesaris did however manage two second place finishes (Germany and South Africa) and led in Belgium before retiring (taking fastest lap). Euroracing sold the 183T's to Osella at the end of the season and introduced the kevlar composite 184T for 1984 with new drivers and sponsorship from Italian clothing company Benetton. Although Ricardo Patrese managed a podium finish in Italy, the cars were once again woefully unreliable throughout the year.

This led to Carlo Chiti leaving Alfa Romeo after more than twenty years and setting up Motori-Moderni to supply engines to Minardi. Autodelta was absorbed back into its parent before the 1985 season as Alfa's financial losses mounted, while on the track the season was a disaster with neither driver scoring a point. The bloated 185T design was so bad they reverted back to using the year-old 184T after eight races. At the end of the season it was announced that Alfa Romeo would no longer supply engines to Euroracing (or Osella) with a view to returning in 1987 as an engine supplier to Ligier. The Euroracing Team withdrew from F1 and morphed into the EuroBrun team for 1988. 

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers Starts Wins Poles F Lap Pts Pos
1979 179
177
Alfa Romeo 1260 V12
Alfa Romeo 115 F12
GY 35 Giacomelli (4 races)
36 Brambilla (2 races & 1 DNQ)

5

0

0

0

0

-

1980 179 Alfa Romeo 1260 V12 GY 23 Giacomelli
24 Depailler (8) / Brambilla (2) / De Cesaris (2)

14

0

1

0

4

11th

1981 179D
179C
179B
Alfa Romeo 1260 V12 MI 22 Ma Andretti
23 Giacomelli

15

0

0

0

10

9th

1982 182
182B
179D
Alfa Romeo 1260 V12 GY
MI
22 De Cesaris
23 Giacomelli

16

0

1

0

7

10th

1983 183T Alfa Romeo 890T V8t MI 22 De Cesaris
23 Baldi

15

0

0

1

18

6th

1984 184T Alfa Romeo 183T V8t GY 22 Patrese
23 Cheever

16

0

0

0

11

8th

1985 184T
185T
Alfa Romeo 890T V8t GY 22 Patrese
23 Cheever

16

0

0

0

0

-

       

TOTALS:

97 0 2 1 50  

 

 

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