The 2018 Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team marks Alfa’s return to F1, after 32-year absence
You know, the Alfa Romeo brand has been on a bit of a roll lately. Their U.S. road car lineup has expanded with the addition of the Giulia and Stelvio. With those new models, Alfa Romeo’s October 2017 sales increased 50-fold over the same period in 2016 (granted, there was only the 4C on sale at the time). Now, for all you Alfa fans, there’s more good news – the company is returning to Formula One after an absence spanning more than 30 years.
Alfa Romeo didn’t exactly leave F1 on a high note. Their last foray into the sport was in 1985 with the Benetton 184TB, pictured above. The car wasn’t competitive, however, so Alfa Romeo pulled out as a constructor after the 1985 Australian Grand Prix. Today, hopes were high as the FCA-owned brand signed a multi-year partnership agreement with the Swiss Sauber F1 Team. Beginning with the 2018 season, Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 cars will sport Alfa Romeo’s colors, and come equipped with Ferrari power units.
FCA’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, marked the occasion as a milestone in reforming Alfa Romeo’s image:
“This agreement with the Sauber F1 Team is a significant step in the reshaping of the Alfa Romeo brand, which will return to Formula 1 after an absence of more than 30 years. A storied marque that has helped make the history of this sport, Alfa Romeo will join other major automakers that participate in Formula 1.”
Alfa Romeo was a hugely successful racing team in pre-war Grand Prix events. Then, the brand racked up two world championships in 1950 and 1951 under Nina Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio. Alfa Romeo was an engine supplier from 1961 to 1979. When they returned as a constructor in 1979, they achieved their best result in 1983, taking sixth.