After Three Decades Alfa Romeo Returns to Formula One
If you are a card-carrying member of the Tifosi (a staunch supporter of Scuderia Ferrari in Formula One), you surely noticed that the Fiat logo was replaced by an Alfa Romeo tag for the past two seasons. This might have been the predecessor move by Fiat to bolster one of its many brands and an early sign of the company's return to F1. After all, the niche brand of Alfa Romeo with its colorful history in racing was probably a much better option to promote than the automotive giant known worldwide as a manufacturer of low-priced economy cars for everyday use.
Originally named A.L.F.A. (for Anomica Lombardo Fabbrica Automobili), the firm produced everything from racing cars to airplane engines prior to Nicola Romeo purchasing the auto manufacturer in 1915. A World War I munitions and tractor producer, Alfa Romeo returned to racing shortly after the conflict. In the early twenties, a young Enzo Ferrari earned a ride with the Alfa Romeo Formula One team as driver. After a marginally successful driving career, Ferrari worked his way deeper into the industry and eventually founded his own Prancing Horses brand.
When the constructor's championship began in 1950, Alfa Romeo won the driver's title with Nino Farina. The sporty Italian brand repeated their success a year later with Juan-Manuel Fangio behind the wheel. Except for a short stint in the 80s, the brand was relegated to the sidelines. Now, Alfa Romeo returns to F1 joining the Ferrari-powered Sauber team. According to Fiat-Chrysler Chairman Sergio Marchionne, Alfa Romeo's partnership is a strategic, commercial and technological partnership. Although the team has yet to announce their 2018 driver lineup, look for F2 champion Charles Leclerc and Ferrari-backed Marcus Ericsson behind the wheel.
Photo courtesy of dreamstime.