Ferrari President and Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says he is still attracted by the idea of returning Alfa Romeo to Formula 1, but says there are no formal plans in place to do so.
The Italian marque is synonymous with some of F1's most iconic eras, winning the inaugural world championship in 1950 before enjoying varied success in the 1970s and 1980s as a constructor and an engine supplier.
Though its badge has re-emerged recently as a sponsor for sister company Ferrari, Alfa Romeo itself hasn't been represented in F1 since 1988 as the engine supplier for Osella.
However, Marchionne has repeatedly stated a desire to push Alfa Romeo as a sporting brand once again with a potential return to F1, potentially as a Ferrari B-team. Even so, in his latest comments to Italian publication Autosprint
during the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, Marchionne says there is no framework in place for such a move.
“This context is the maximum technological expression of the automotive world and considering the objectives of Alfa Romeo, I think the option should be considered. The Alfa myth is born with the races, and somehow has to get back here .When will it happen? I do not know.”
Alfa Romeo's return to F1 would tie in with Marchionne's desire to give the struggling company a significant promotional boost.
Though it is believed VW was close to purchasing Alfa Romeo in recent years, FIAT-Chrysler opted to retain the brand and is currently in the midst of a significant model and marketing push, led by the much delayed new Giulia saloon and backed up by under-development SUV models.
These efforts are in turn set to spearhead Alfa Romeo's full-scale return to the crucial US market, with the promotional power of F1 potentially being considered as a supplement to this effort.