Alfa Romeo has embraced style and competition since 1950 winning the first Grand Prix and even first championship in the history of Formula 1.
In 1950, when Formula 1 was little more than dreams and staged almost entirely on European circuits, the Italian marque was beginning its illustrious racing assault on the global and rapidly developing racing extravaganza.
It was the iconic Silverstone bends that hosted the first and important race; a track that remains to this day one of the most important and significant circuits on the busy motorsport calendar.
The automotive world has radically changed but two outstanding factors remain consistent throughout; the enthusiasm of the public and a returning presence of Alfa Romeo on the Grand Prix start line.
Juan Manuel Fangio
At the first race, the Alfa Romeo racing team presented four 158 single-seaters, driven by Giuseppe “Nino” Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio, Luigi Fagioli and Reg Parnell, the latter as a token of respect towards the host country. The cars took the first four places in the qualifiers and occupied the entire front row of the grid.
Looking back at those days, Alfa Romeo engineer Giuseppe Busso once declared that the real problem for the team of the three “F”s – Farina, Fangio and Fagioli – was to establish the order of the podium. The Alfa Romeo 158 delivered 350hp and touched a top speed of 290km/h. Nino Farina on that momentous 13 May took pole position, the fastest lap and the race.
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By the end of the championship, the 158 had won six of the seven races valid for the ranking, having deserted the Indianapolis 500 along with all of the European manufacturers. Alfa Romeo remained undefeated after the first race in the Silverstone GP, winning the first three places in the ranking. Nino Farina was the first champion of the newly formed Formula 1. Success was repeated in the following year, when the 159 single-seater won the world title again, this time with champion driver Juan Manuel Fangio behind the wheel.
Since then the sporting legend of Alfa Romeo has seen a string of victories and top-three finishes in many international championships, including Formula 1. The “biscione” emblem is back and after continuous progress and eighth place in the team’s comeback season, this year the new “Alfa Romeo Racing” team will continue to bring the tradition of technical excellence and Italian style, characteristic of the Alfa Romeo brand, to the pinnacles of motorsport competitions.
The “Alfa Romeo Racing” team will be lining up Giovinazzi Antonio, the first Italian driver to regularly appear at the wheel of a Formula 1 for eight years, and 2007 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen, who scored points in the first two races. So continues the legend of the Quadrifoglio, the green cloverleaf emblem that since 1923 has identified the highest performing Alfa Romeo models.
Race number one thousand will be held on Sunday 14 April in China.
Juan Manuel Fangio