Alfa Romeo S.p.A. are an Italian auto maker and constructor based in Milan, Italy. Alfa Romeo has competed in motorsport since the 1910s and has achieved great success in Grand Prix racing, Sportscars and Touring Cars.
1950s: Early dominance
Alfa Romeo entered the inaugural season of Formula One in 1950 with a lineup initially consisting of Juan Manuel Fangio, Giuseppe Farina, Maurice Trintignant and Mauri Rose. The team used an evolution of their venerable 158 chassis that had dominated post-war Grand Prix racing prior to the setup of the new World Championship. Although they did not win the first ever F1 race, Alfa Romeo vehicles won five out of the seven races in 1950 - with an independent 8C-308 chassis winning the Indianapolis 500 at the hands of Johnny Mauro. Rose was replaced at the team by Myron Fohr after the Swiss Grand Prix when Fohr's performance in the 500 impressed top brasses in Milan. Fohr was later replaced himself for the season ending Italian Grand Prix by pre-war ace Paul Pietsch. Farina won three out of the five races (Fangio won the other) and as such was crowned as the first World Driver's champion.
1951 saw Alfa Romeo start their second season with the lineup of Farina, Fangio, Pietsch and Stirling Moss although Pietsch was dropped when financial issues restricted the team to three cars after the first round. Farina and Alfa Romeo were only able to win one race all season - the British Grand Prix - although his consistent form saw him comfortably take his season Driver's crown.
The team persisted with the Farina, Fangio and Moss combination in 1952 but brought along a new car - the 159/52. Whilst a strong package - the car was well and truly matched by the Ferrari 375B, Talbot-Lago T26C and Gordini T15 cars and as such Alfa Romeo was unable to take a win all season. Despite this, Farina managed to score four second places which were enough to take him to second in the championship behind Motorsport Bleu's B. Bira.
Fangio made the jump to Italian rivals Ferrari in 1953 so British driver Peter Whitehead made the jump in the opposite direction in his place. Alfa Romeo bought out the new AR160 which once again was a decent package but was more than matched by several other teams. Alfa Romeo suffered a major setback in the Belgian Grand Prix when Farina crashed and broke his shoulder - effectively ending his title challenge. Farina was replaced by Louis Chiron in this period. Farina returned after three races out and managed a win in the season-ending United States Grand Prix.
Farina, Moss and Whitehead were retained in 1954, with the AR160 also kept for a second season. Reliability was a real issue for the team in 1954 and points finishes were hard to come by at first. Whtiehead suffered a setback when he severely damaged his car at the Belgian Grand Prix which ruled him out of the following race in The Netherlands. Farina once again scored the team's only win - taking the flag in the Swiss Grand Prix which would ultimately be his final victory. Moss concluded his poor run with Alfa Romeo after the German Grand Prix when he was sacked in favour of Belgian ace André Pilette.
Jack Brabham and Tony Gaze were brought in to the fold alongside Farina in 1955. Faced with opposition as unreliable and inconsistent as his own machinery, Brabham proved quick, but occasionally off the pace. Nonetheless, he was in eighth place going to the season-ending Italian Grand Prix, with only 9 points. As most other contenders retired, Brabham could vault into the lead for a comfortable victory, taking the championsip with a record low of 18 points. This also saw Alfa Romeo capture their first Constructor's crown.
World Champion Brabham was poached by Gordini in 1956, so the team signed Farina, Gaze and Dominican driver Porfirio Rubirosa. A clerical error with the entry forms saw Alfa Romeo denied entry to the paddock ahead of the opening race in Monaco Grand Prix which caused much embarrassment to the Italian manufacturer who in turn withdrew from the championship.
Alfa Romeo chassis and engines continued to race for several seasons afterwards in private hands.
1970s-1980s: Engine Supply and Works Team
In 1976 Alfa Romeo were engine suppliers to Brabham and Team Penske. Brabham's James Hunt was the best Alfa Romeo-powered driver having visited the podium on three occasions - his best being a second place in the French Grand Prix. Penske however struggled - which brought the ire of team boss Roger Penske who branded the units as "lumps of Italian pig iron". Predictably the Penske relationship did not continue.
Shadow and Ensign became Alfa Romeo's two representatives in 1977 after Brabham switched to Ford power. Ensign was the best of the two teams - with Gunnar Nilsson and Ronnie Peterson being a regular feature in the points whilst Shadow struggled in pre-qualifying. After the season finished, Alfa Romeo purchased the Fittipaldi team and rebranded it as Autodelta.
Autodelta had Jean-Pierre Jarier and Elio de Angelis under contract for the beginning of the 1978 season, with the understanding that Emerson Fittipaldi would lead the team in Jarier's place once the Brazilian was back to full health. Fittipaldi returned after the third race and helped Alfa Romeo to a 5-6 finish in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Alfa Romeo's final year as an engine supplier was 1987 when they provided units for Osella and Ligier. Ligier's Riccardo Patrese scored the best result of the season with a fourth place in the Italian Grand Prix.
Alfa Romeo supplied engines to Club Bangelia Racing in 2010 and 2011. American driver Dan BH won the 2010 F1RWRS Saxon Grand Prix for the team as well as taking three second places which were enough for third overall. Bangelia-Alfa Romeo finished the first season in second.
2011 saw the team downsize to just a single car for James Davies who managed a solitary second place. Alfa Romeo opted to withdraw from F1RWRS after this season.