It’s hard these days for a true alfista to get fully behind the Alfa Romeo-branded Sauber-Ferrari Formula 1 team, though over the last two seasons, popular Finn Kimi Raikkonen and brave young Italian Antonio Giovinazzi, have battled against the media tide on- and off-track to hold the Alfa banner high.
This week, news broke that World Champion Lewis Hamilton’s No. 2 of the last three seasons, fellow Mercedes star Valtteri Bottas, has signed to replace the retiring Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen (aka Sauber) team starting in 2022 when from-the-ground-up new technical regulations will mean all-change in F1 racing.
I continue to wear my cappuccino-stained Alfa Romeo T-shirt on GP race days, but I have to say I miss the 1980s when, after a three-decade absence, Alfa Romeo returned to F1.
Though they were almost completely unsuccessful, it’s always worth a look back to the six seasons 1979-1985 when real Autodelta-built Alfa Romeos, not just machines with pasted-on Milano cross/Visconti serpent badges, prowled the global F1 paddocks. I mean, of course, the oft-unreliable but always endearing Alfa 3.0-liter V-12-powered 177s, 179s and 182s driven by the Mario Andretti no less, Bruno Giacomelli (who should have won the 1980 USGP), Vittorio Brambilla, Patrick Depailler (tragically killed in testing in 1980) and flashy youngster Andrea de Cesaris.
(I am not including in these happy ruminations, of course, the disastrous Euroracing-built Alfa 185T which effectively brought the curtain down on Alfa Romeo’s F1 return. Just so you know.)
Alfisti remaining in the U.S. will enjoy this pair of very short but stirring Alfa F1 videos uncovered in the YouTube morass by skilled photographer and long-time VM Newsletter co-editor Scott Paceley. I’d wager anyone hearing that raucous V-12 in, first, a 1981 179C video posted by UK and Italian classic car merchants Girardo & Co. earlier this year; and then a 182C warming up tires on a damp Varano circuit, will be similarly enthralled.
Turn up the sound.