June 16, 2021

Alfa Romeo back in F1 with Sauber

In 2018, Alfa, which left the Grands Prix in 1984 after an inglorious comeback, will return as sponsor of the Swiss team Sauber, whose single-seaters will be powered by a state-of-the-art Ferrari engine. The opportunity to recall that the first four seasons of the Formula 1 world championship were dominated by Alfa Romeo (1950-1951) then Ferrari.

Alfa Romeo is back in F1. Finally, more exactly, the famous logo that we could glimpse this season on the rear cover of Ferraris will be fully displayed on Saubers in 2018., whose bodies will feature red and white in the same cut, the traditional colors of the Milanese brand. The Swiss team, of which the Frenchman Frédéric Vasseur became director this year, finds the opportunity to take off again. Indeed, if the single-seaters will always remain powered by Ferrari, they will on the other hand no longer receive an earlier version (in 2017, Wehrlein and Ericsson had a 2016 V6 configuration) but the same as that used by the single-seaters of the Scuderia. Which made Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director of Renault Sport F1 say: “This return of Alfa Romeo is a good thing for Formula 1 and Sauber but, as Ferrari will provide them with top-level equipment, it means that he is a competitor to be reckoned with.”

A return that could not be more legitimate

For the time being, Alfa Romeo is only a sponsor of the Helvetian team but as the contract extends until the end of 2020, that is to say under the current technical regulations, the situation could change. In any case, this arrival could not be more legitimate insofar as the Italian firm is a pioneer. It has indeed won the first two world championships, in 1950 and 1951, with the Italian Nino Farina and the Argentinian Juan-Manuel Fangio at the wheel of models, the 158 and 159, very close to those used before the war., at a time when the sporting director of Alfa Romeo was Enzo Ferrari!

This Tipo 158 enabled Alfa Romeo to win the first Formula 1 world championship in 1950.© Alfa Romeo

Reappeared in Grand Prix at the end of the 1970s, Alfa then hardly shone as a full-fledged manufacturer, its only two victories were those obtained with the flat 12-cylinder installed in Niki Lauda’s Brabham in 1978. Alfa’s F1 adventure ended in 1984. More than thirty years later, the story resumes with the Swede Marcus Ericsson (linked to his rich industrial compatriot, Finn Rausing, owner of the team) and with the brilliant Monegasque hopeful Charles Leclerc, GP3 champion in 2016 and Formula 2 this season. . Member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, this 20-year-old Monegasque, who was close to Jules Bianchi, will be the third driver of the Principality to race in F1 after Louis Chiron between 1950 and 1955 and Olivier Beretta, member of the Larrousse team in 1994.

Ferrari still threatens to leave

In presenting the Alfa Romeo Sauber team, Sergio Marchionne, the boss of the Fiat-Chrysler group, once again raised the possibility that Ferrari will leave F1 at the end of 2020 if the future technical regulations envisaged do not change. Coming from the Scuderia, these threats are not new. The founder of Ferrari was used to this kind of talk. The fact that Mr. Marchionne, a rigorous manager, invests in F1 with Alfa Romeo is nevertheless a good sign….

The body of the single-seater adopts the red and white typical of Alfa Romeo.
The body of the single-seater adopts the red and white typical of Alfa Romeo.© Alfa Romeo

Published on Updated through Francis Monsenergue