Since the very beginning, Alfa Romeo has been keen to put blistering performance at the heart of its name. Passion and sportiness have been embodied in the design of every one of Alfa Romeo’s creations since 1910. Over the decades, the legendary Italian car brand has been successfully involved in motorsport and won many racing competitions ever since the birth of its first 24 HP model some 111 years ago. Many Alfa Romeo cars and racing drivers have made an indelible mark on the Formula One championship, winning an impressive two world titles in the sport.
From winning the first motor racing world championship in 1925 behind the wheel of the P2, to conquering the first Formula One World Championship in 1950 with the Alfetta 158, Alfa Romeo has a long and proud history in motorsport. In the next few lines, we will take a trip back in time to look at the legendary cars and the extraordinary people that contributed to the Alfa Romeo legacy and remarkable racing history.
Three world titles, two in Formula One
On 24 June 1910, a new automotive company was founded with the name A.L.F.A (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili). A few years later, the Italian car manufacturer’s name was changed to Alfa Romeo. Just 15 years after its foundation, Alfa Romeo won its first world championship in motor racing with its two-seater Grand Prix model, the iconic P2.
In 1950, Alfa Romeo’s journey to greatness in the world of Formula One had begun. Driving the Alfetta 158, Nino Farina won the first Formula One World Championship by conquering the GPs of Great Britain, Switzerland, and Italy. Billed as the most successful Alfa Romeo in Formula One, the Alfetta 158 was equipped with a straight-8, 1.479 cm³ engine delivering 425 hp, with a top speed of 290 km/h.
The following year, Farina’s teammate Juan Manuel Fangio, secured the 1951 Formula One World Championship title with the new Alfetta 159, by winning the GPs of Switzerland, France, and Spain. The Alfetta 159 remains the last Alfa Romeo to win a Formula One World Championship. After this unprecedented milestone, Alfa Romeo withdrew from the sport to focus on mass production cars.
Merzario, Andretti, and Raikkonen… great drivers for a great brand
A few race drivers shared the pioneering spirit of Alfa Romeo and its passion for racing, by playing a significant role in the Italian brand’s motorsport history book. Aside from Farina’s and Fangio’s valuable contributions in winning the two Formula One World Championship titles for Alfa Romeo, Arturo Merzario was also an iconic racing driver for the Italian brand. Merzario contributed significantly to Alfa Romeo’s victory in the World Marques Championship in 1975 and 1977.
After an absence of more than two decades, Alfa Romeo returned to Formula One, first by supplying its engine to other teams, and then with its own cars and a handful of drivers, including Lauda, Depailler, and Andretti. Mario Andretti drove for Alfa Romeo's F1 team in 1981. He still remains the only driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), Daytona 500 (1967), and the Formula One World Championship (1978) all together.
The Finn Kimi Raikkonen and Italian Antonio Giovinazzi are now both Alfa Romeo Racing drivers in the Formula One Championship. Nicknamed “The Iceman,” Raikkonen is considered one of only five drivers to have taken over 100 podium finishes, as he has accumulated experiences that allowed him to reach the most prestigious levels of motorsport. On the other hand, the 28-year-old Giovinazzi is a talented racing driver, and a promising future is waiting for him with the Alfa Romeo Racing team.
From track racing to the road
Alfa Romeo has successfully transferred a century of motorsport expertise to its road cars, and as a result has designed and crafted some of the most innovative and sporty cars in automotive history. The high-performance Giulia Quadrifoglio and the Stelvio Quadrifoglio are a supreme expression of the "La meccanica delle emozioni", the mechanics of emotion concept, featuring a V6, bi-turbo 2.9-liter engine that chugs out a class-leading 510 hp with an efficient balance of power and weight— the most powerful Alfa Romeo production engine ever.
The recently launched Giulia GTA and Giulia GTAm, both extraordinary models, can also be seen as the link between the track-focused and the road cars. Both high-performance vehicles are designed in collaboration with Sauber Engineering—a leading Formula One engineering technology provider—and are inspired by one of the most successful models in Alfa Romeo's history, the 1965 Giulia GTA. Thanks to the extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbon fiber and composite materials, a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio of 187 hp per liter, and an upgraded engine power of 540 hp, the all-new Giulia GTA and Giulia GTAm are an authentic return to the roots of the Italian brand established 111 years ago, particularly the performance and touring roots.
All Alfa Romeo models are available in Qatar through Alfardan Sports Motors—Qatar’s official and authorized Alfa Romeo importer—and all the Italian brand sports masterpieces: Alfa Romeo Giulietta the hatchback, Alfa Romeo Giulia, the Sedan and Alfa Romeo Stelvio, the SUV are displayed at Alfardan Sports Motors’ showroom located in The Pearl-Qatar’s Medina Centrale area.