Alfa Romeo F1 Team

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Alfa Romeo F1 Team

1. Alfa Romeo F1 Team in brief

Alfa Romeo F1 Team is an Italian team present in Formula 1 during the creation of the world championship. With Giuseppe Farina in 1950, then Juan Manuel Fangio the following year, she won the first two titles in the history of the category, before returning furtively in the 80s to F1, then making her return again in 2019, more through title sponsorship than through operational investment. The Italian manufacturer now subcontracts its program through the Swiss Sauber team, with Frédéric Vasseur at its head, and Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou in the seat.

Zhou and Bottas in action at Suzuka for Alfa Romeo / © DPPI

2. The history of Alfa Romeo F1 Team

Alfa Romeo and Formula 1 is above all the story of an Italian team present from the first two years of the world championship, in which it took part immediately. Under the impetus of the Alfetta 158 and 159, it was preparing to dominate the category unequivocally, despite the presence at that time of major manufacturers like Ferrari obviously, but also Maserati, Cooper and BRM. From its first season, its two drivers, Farina and Fangio, shared the victories, three each, in the six races in which Alfa Romeo participated – the Italian team skipped the Indianapolis 500, counting for the championship of F1 at that time. Italian driver Giuseppe Farina finishes world champion, the first in the history of the category, three points ahead of his Argentine teammate.

The first F1 world champion in history in 1950, Giuseppe Farina was crowned at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo / © DPPI

In 1951, the competition was more intense between the Alfa Romeos and the Ferraris of González and Ascari. But thanks to three victories, in Switzerland, France and Spain, Juan Manuel Fangio allowed Alfa Romeo to win a second consecutive title, the first of his five personal successes. However, it was during this season that the Milanese team experienced its first defeats, three times against Ferrari, and, faced with the refusal of the Italian authorities to participate financially in Alfa Romeo's adventure in F1, it withdraws from the championship with immediate effect.

Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1st of his 5 F1 titles with Alfa Romeo in 1951 / © DPPI

Between 1960 and the end of the 70s, Alfa Romeo found a role again, in a rapidly expanding championship, that of engine manufacturer. It initially equipped small teams, before entering into a three-year partnership with Bernie Ecclestone's team, Brabham, in 1976. Despite the difficulties in integrating the Italian engines, the team's engineer, Gordon Murray, found the solution and allowed the British to take two pole positions during 1978.

The following year was marked by the return of Alfa Romeo as a manufacturer in its own right, from Belgium. Although it took pole position for the United States Grand Prix the following year through Italian driver Bruno Giacomelli, the Italian team did not really manage to secure the top positions. However, she will be on the podium three times, during these seven years of presence. But after a season without any points in 1985, the Italian team once again decided to withdraw from Formula 1.

Bruno Giacomelli took the first Alfa Romeo pole position in almost 30 years at the 1980 US GP / © DPPI

After more than thirty years of absence, Alfa Romeo announces its return to the premier category of motorsport in 2019, as title sponsor of the Swiss team Sauber. The formation, which was initially called Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, will become Alfa Romeo F2022 Team Orlen in 1. After three seasons spent with Kimi Räikkönen in one seat, Robert Kubica then Antonio Giovinazzi in the other, and checkered results, the team is getting a makeover in 2022. It is securing the services of Valtteri Bottas, the Finn arriving from Mercedes, and Guanyu Zhou, Chinese driver straight out of F2.

Zhou had a big scare at Silverstone this year / © DPPI

A season marked in 2022 by the first points of a Chinese driver in the history of Formula 1 in Bahrain, during the first Grand Prix of the season, but also by Zhou's impressive accident at Silverstone, following contact with the departure with George Russell's Mercedes.

3. The official drivers of Alfa Romeo F1 Team

In 2022, the official drivers of Alfa Romeo F1 Team are Valtteri Bottas, whose contract runs until 2024, and the Chinese Guanyu Zhou, hired for the 2022 season alone with the label of paying driver. His contract has not yet been renewed, especially since behind it, a certain Théo Pourchaire, very active in F2 and protected by Sauber, is pushing to climb to the next level.

Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) / © DPPI

4. AUTOhebdo's opinion on Alfa Romeo F1 Team

Alfa Romeo is necessarily part of the F1 Pantheon for its ability to have dominated the championship during its first two years. In the 50s, even 40s, the Alfettas were simply unbeatable, and remained undefeated for many seasons before seeing competition from Ferrari close in. But since then, the Italian team has stalled and its two returns to F1 have not been as significant as during its first years. In fact, Alfa Romeo is still looking for its first success in the category, since Juan Manuel Fangio's victory in Spain in 1951. A great story to tell for the youngest, certainly, but also an almost vital need for Alfa Romeo to regain its former nobility. Because the more time passes, the less obvious it is to measure up to the behemoths of the championship.