Sergio Marchionne has made it clear he’d like to see Alfa Romeo return to Formula 1 and recently doubled down on his sentiments in regards to the matter, telling reporters during Ferrari’s annual Christmas media day that Alfa could eventually serve as Ferrari’s junior team.
“Alfa Romeo in F1 could become a fine breeding ground for young Italian drivers,” the Italian-Canadian executive said shortly after announcing GP2’s Antonio Giovinazzi as Ferrari’s new third driver. “The best one, Giovinazzi, is already with us, but there are others besides him, and they are struggling to find space.”
Despite Marchionne’s intentions to bring Alfa back to F1, a return for the brand is, realistically, still a long way out. Racing in F1 is a costly endeavor and Alfa must first sell a substantial amount of Giulia sedans and Stelvio SUVs before the expense can be justified, he said. It nearly landed itself on the grid this past year through a collaboration with Red Bull, however that deal fell through as it violated FIA rules and Red Bull wasn’t convinced the Ferrari-derived powerplant would be competitive.
Last December Marchionne said a potential return to F1 was “important,” for Alfa Romeo. The automaker last competed in F1 in 1985 under the Benetton-Alfa Romeo banner. That team’s last car, the 185T, proved so unreliable it switched to the 1984 car halfway through the season. It was piloted by Ricardo Patrese and American Eddie Cheever, with Patrese later describing it as one of the worst racing cars he had ever driven.
Via Grand Prix Times