Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has admitted that there is room for an Alfa Romeo Formula One project that would provide two F1 seats for emerging Italian talent.
“Alfa Romeo in F1 could become a fine breeding ground for young Italian drivers.
The best one, Giovinazzi, is already with us, but there are others besides him, and they are struggling to find room.
Alfa Romeo, more than our customer teams, could offer them that space.”
– Sergio Marchionne
After being announced as Ferrari’s reserve driver for 2017, GP2 star Antonio Giovinazzi is the highest placed Italian driver on the open wheel Motorsport ladder. There hasn’t been an Italian on the Formula One grid since Jarno Trulli and Vitantonio Liuzzi’s departures in 2011.
The premise for an Alfa Romeo F1 team is one that mimics the system that Toro Rosso have in place in relation to Red Bull. Alfa Romeo would be the hatchery for future Ferrari drivers, giving them vital Formula One experience prior to racing with the Ferrari team. But the similarities with Red Bull’s structure would end there, as Marchionne explains.
“We are not trying to emulate the experience of [Red Bull advisor Helmut] Marko with Verstappen at Red Bull
This is a unique case and we can’t replicate it. We like Giovinazzi because he’s a great driver. The Scuderia must have a group of young drivers who must be ready to be involved. We don’t know if at the end of 2017 Kimi will continue to race.
Sebastian, on the other hand, will have to find a better feeling with the car. He needs to have a good relationship with 2017 car. We owe him a lot and we want to give him a car that’s up to it.”
– Sergio Marchionne
The revival of Alfa Romeo would be a win-win for the sport. It would bring another manufacturer to the grid with an established history in F1. One team who might not benefit from Marchionne’s clear intentions are Haas, who currently have a strong technical partnership with Ferrari which could be jeopardised if the Alfa Romeo project goes ahead.