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Alfa Romeo keer terug na F1

Vir die 2019 Formule 1-seisoen gaan die ooreenkoms wat vir 2018 tussen Sauber en Alfa Romeo aangegaan is, verder gevoer word deurdat dié span nou as Alfa Romeo Racing bekend sal staan.

Alfa Romeo het aan die aanvanklike Formule 1-wêreldkampioenskap in 1950 deelgeneem, met Guiseppe Farina wat die eerste title daardie jaar met die 158 gewen het, gevolg deur Juan-Manuel Fangio se eeste kampioenskap die volgende jaar in ‘n 159. Die volgende jaar het dié vervaardiger aan die kampioenskap onttrek maar in 1976 aangekondig dat hy enjins aan die Brabham-span sou verskaf. Die Brabham-Alfa Romeo het sy debuut in 1977 gemaak, met John Watson van Ierland en Carlos Pace van Brasilië as die twee renjaers. Toe Pace in Maart 1977 in ‘n vliegongeluk dood is, het die Duitse renjaer Hans-Joachim Stuck sy plek vir die res van die seisoen ingeneem.

Vir die 1978- seisoen het Niki Lauda hom by Watson aangesluit. Lauda se eerste oorwinning vir Brabham was omstrede omdat hy dit die Brabham BT 46B behaal het; die motor het ‘n groot waaier aan die agterkant gehad wat dieselfde oogmerk as die syskorte op sy mededingers se motors gehad het, naamlik om die motor aan die pad vas te suig. Hoewel Lauda die Sweedse Grand Prix gewen het en die oorwinning nie van hom af weggeneem is nie, is die motor verbied om enigsins verder deel te neem. Die motor se waaier is met die deksel van ‘n asblik toegemaak wanneer dit nie in gebruik was nie om die ander vervaardigers om die bos te lei. Lauda het die Italiaanse Grand Prix met die oorspronklike weergawe van die BT 46 gewen, maar net omdat die renjaers wat in die eerste twee plekke klaargemaak het, Mario Andretti en Gilles Villeneuve, elk met ‘n minuut gestraf is omdat hulle te vining weg gespring het. Vir die 1979-seisoen, die laaste jaar van die ooreenkoms tussen Brabham en Alfa Romeo, het Nelson Piquet hom by Lauda aangesluit en gou die leiding in die span geneem. Lauda het teen die einde van daardie jaar tydelik uitgetree.

In dieselfde jaar het Alfa Romeo besluit om ook as vervaardiger terug te keer met die Italiaanse renjaer Bruno Giacomelli agter die stuur. In 1980 is ‘n tweede motor vir die Franse jaer Patrick Depailler ingeskryf, maar in Augustus daardie jaar is Depailler in ‘n ongeluk op die Hockenheim- renbaan in Duitsland dood terwyl hy die motor getoets het, en Andrea de Cesaris het sy plek ingeneem. Giacomelli het voor weggespring met die Amerikaanse Grand Prix van 1980, maar sy motor het uitgeval weens elektriese moeilikheid.

Mario Andretti het in 1981 Giacomelli se spanmaart geword, maar die motors was nie juis betroubaar nie. De Cesaris het in 1982 teruggekeer na die span en tydens die Amerikaanse Grand Prix op die Long Beach-straatbaan die jongste renjaer tot op daardie stadium geword wat voor in ‘n wedren kon wegspring, maar weer eens kon hy nie die wedren voltooi nie. Die span het nie veel sukses in 1983 met De Cesaris en sy landgenoot Mauro Baldi behaal nie. Die twee spanlede in 1984 en 1985 was Riccardo Patrese van Italië en Eddie Cheever van die VSA, maar hulle kon nie veel sukses behaal nie. Teen die einde van 1985 het Alfa Romeo as vervaardiger aan Formule 1 onttrek.

Alfa Romeo het egter ook in die 1980’s enjins aan die onsuksesvolle Osella-span verskaf; aan die een kant het die span gehelp om in die uiters professionele turbo-era mee te ding, maar aan die ander kant was die enjins swaar, onbetroubaar en glad nie brandstofdoeltreffend nie. Die motors het óf nie vir die wedrenne waarvoor hulle ingeskryf is, gekwalifiseer nie, óf hulle het uitgeval. Teen die einde van 1987 het die samewerkingsooreenkoms tussen Alfa Romeo en Osella tot ‘n einde gekom.

Nou is Alfa Romeo gereed om opnuut tot Formule 1 toe te tree, en die span se naam word vir die nuwe seisoen na Alfa Romeo Racing verander. Nogtans sal die span nog deur dieselfde eienaars en bestuurspan beheer word. In 2018 het Alfa Romeo Sauber agtste in die vervaardigers-kampioenskap gekom en Alfa Romeo Racing hoop om, met die voormalige wêreld kampioen Kimi Raikkönen en die Italiaanse nuweling Antonio Giovinazzi, op hierdie posisie te verbeter.

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