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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne has repeated his wish to see Alfa Romeo back in Formula 1 in the future as he personally heads the drive to restore the legend of the iconic brand.
In an interview with the FIA publication Auto, Marchionne said, [I have in mind] to see Alfa Romeo back racing in Formula 1 again someday, because I believe very strongly it’s a place the brand should be. I don’t know how likely it is that this will happen. But the fact that we are talking about [it] is a good sign in itself.”
Indeed Ferrari’s late founder Enzo Ferrari started out racing and managing a team for Alfa Romeo before setting up on his own in the late 1940s.
The first two Formula 1 world championships, in 1950 and 1951, were won by Italian Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina and Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio in the legendary Alfa Romeo 158 and 159, also remembered fondly as the Alfetta.
The company supplied engines in the 1960s and 1970s and returned as a constructor, with limited success, in 1979 before again withdrawing at the end of 1985.
Marchionne is intent on making the Alfa Romeo marque again and it appears to be a personal crusade, “It is vital. The commitment we made with Alfa Romeo is one of the priorities in our five-year plan. It’s no secret that Alfa is one of the projects I’ve been most involved in, operationally and emotionally.”
“It is one of the most important of my career. Not just because of the unequalled value of the brand or the business opportunity it represents. It’s something more. Giving a voice to the real Alfa Romeo, restoring it to a position worthy of the legend, was a moral imperative.”
“In recent years, we have acted on that imperative by providing the brand with the best resources, including talent and our best technological know-how. What we have created, with the Giulia and more recently with the Stelvio, are two models that capture the original spirit of Alfa Romeo.”
“The instantly recognisable thoroughbred character of Alfa is something that few other brands can claim or even aspire to. Today the brand is ready to retake its rightful position as one of the world’s leading premium car brands,” added Marchionne.
During a Christmas function last year at Maranello, he said, “Alfa Romeo could become the grooming ground for young Italian drivers. The best of them, Antonio Giovinazzi, is already under contract, but there are others. Many of them lack seats. We could create these seats through Alfa Romeo.”
Alfa Romeo branding has been part of the Formula 1 livery for a couple of years now, while this season the famous four leaf clover has been added to the race suit sleeves of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
The brand has also been linked as an engine supplier – rebadged Ferrari power units – for Sauber, Toro Rosso and Red Bull as reported here>>> but as yet no apparent plan is in place for a return.