In a move that would surely delight Alfa Romeo car enthusiasts, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne made a surprising announcement that it is highly possible for the Alfa Romeo brand to return to Formula One racing as a competitor with its own race team and using its own company-made engines.
Currently, Alfa Romeo, an FCA-owned marquee, is doing some small-scale branding for its name by stamping its name on a Ferrari-provided engine. Marchionne told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport that Alfa Romeo is fully capable of making their own engines just as it is capable of making their own chassis.
However, there was no timetable given as to when this might become a reality. Marchionne, who is also the Ferrari chairman, first floated this possibility last December during a press conference at Ferrari’s Maranello factory.
Marchionne stressed that he deemed it important for a sporty brand such as Alfa Romeo to be active in Formula One racing. His recent statements are seen to be a reaction to reports made last year that Ferrari might not be supplying engines with Alfa Romeo branding after Ferrari’s unsuccessful negotiations with Red Bull.
Red Bull decided for a Renault-made engine to carry their sponsor Tag Heuer. Alfa Romeo has a long history of Formula One races in the past, with the first two world championships in 1950 and 1951 being won by Italian Guiseppe Farina and Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio, both driving Alfa Romeo cars.
Alfa Romeo continued to supply engines during the 60s and 70s and briefly returned as a constructor in 1979 before finally opting to withdraw by 1985.
In a reversal of roles, Enzo Ferrari, the late famous Ferrari founder, started in racing and managed a team for Alfa Romeo, prior to setting up his own in the late 1930s. Presently, Ferrari continues to provide engines to three racing teams that rival its own racing team, namely: Suaber, Toro Rosso and Hass F1.