Autodelta Formula 1 feature currently under development.
The Early March - Alfa Romeo Formula 1 Years
The Early McLaren - Alfa Romeo Formula 1 Years
The Brabham - Alfa Romeo Years
In the June of 1974 Bernie Ecclestone had contacted Ing. Carlo Chiti to explore the possibility of using the relatively new Autodelta 12 cylinder boxer engine.
According to historical accounts, Ing. Chiti had dreamed of Alfa Romeo S.p.A. returing to full participatiion in Formula 1 since the withdrawal of the firm from Formula 1 in 1953 due largely to economic difficulties. Besides the unrelenting demands upon him to raise the power output of his V-8 for his T-33 series cars, he pushed himself and his small engineering team to design in 1971 his own flat 12 cylinder or the day when the firm would return to Formula 1 racing.
The agreement with Brabham was merely a stopping off point among his hidden plans to become a true constructor of Formula 1 cars supplying it own chassis and engines..
According to Ing. Chiti:
"It was Andrea de Adamich once again who helped the operation to take place. He had retired finally from racing in 1974, but had continued to enjoy excellent relations with Bernie Ecclestone, the patron for whom he had raced in 1973. Ecclestone was a very different man from the one we know today..."
(Chiti was speaking early in the year 1991, three and one half years before his untimely passing following a heart attack in June of 1994).
Ing. Chiti continued..."He was taking his first steps in Formula 1, but he had immediately showed his ability by gaining a generous and prestigious sponsor in Martini. He had also realized that the backing of a major firm would assist the return to the top rank of the team of which he had just become the owner. And not just that - - it had become clear to him that his Brabham fitted with the classic 8 cylinder Ford Cosworth, could not hope to do much against the 12 cylinder boxer of Ferrari".
The engine that Ecclestone wanted to make that clear distinction with was the new Autodelta 12 cylinder. It had just recently made it's debut at the Targa Florio in 1973 and had won its first Championship race at Monza the following year. Ecclestone had taken notice when de Adamich proposed the collaboration sometime thereafter.
"Ecclestone wanted his team to be different from the others, and it didn't take much to convince de Adamich that the agreement with Alfa would enable him to make the necessary leap in quality."
The brilliant designer Gordon Murray had succeeded in creating a first class BT-44B car using the Cosworth powerplant. But when the agreement was reached between Chiti and Ecclestone in June of 1975, the parties found that it was necessary to completely revise the BT-44 chassis to enclose the flat 12 cylinder with all of the unknown variables between the chassis, the engine, the transmission, the team cultures and the language difficulties that all came into play.
This 12 cylinder boxer 180 degree 2993 cc 520 Horsepower 12 cylinder car was introduced on October 26, 1975 at the Alfa Romeo private testing facility at Balocco.
“It was difficult..." Ing. Chiti said, "... and Ecclestone and I knew that very well. But the important thing was not to be too discouraged by the early poor results. The Brabham men had to learn to suffer, to forget what they’d achieved in the previous seasons, just as we people from Alfa had to learn to work in perfect harmony with the English team.”
According to an account written by noted historian Doug Nye in his book “The Grand Prix Car 1966 –1985”, Mr. Nye wrote that the collaboration between Brabham and Autodelta was filled with difficulties.
"Initially, communication with Autodelta was poor; without warning such vital items as engine mountings could vary by as much as one-half inch from an engine to another causing nightmares in assembly and preparation."
More photos of the BT-45
The first season was difficult not only for the team but especially for Carlos Pace and Carlos Reutemann...in their first season with the new BT-45 car...two drivers of South American extraction with easily depressed attitudes when faced with adversity.
At their introductory race at the Brasilian Grand Prix qualifying held on Friday January 23, 1976 the two cars could only manage to place 10th and 15th on the grid.
And throughout the entire season mediority plagued the team. Tension developed to the point that Reutemann quit the team by the 12th race of the season and was replaced immediately by Irishman John Watson.
The public began to question the wisdom of the match-up between the two organizations...reliability problems with the engine and powertrain continued to plague the team with Carlos Pace relegated to 14th place in the fional season championship ranking.
The new 1977 season began in Buenos Aires with newcomer John Watson sharing the front row in qualifying with James Hunt.
The new BT-45B began the season with revised, more angular and efficient bodywork and engine breathing configuration, newly designed suspension components and a lighter engine weight.
Irrespective of the improvements noted, the team failed to win a single race within its first three years of existence and suffered its greatset loss with the death of Carlos Pace on March 18 1977 before the 4th race in a light plane crash.
The 1977 season ended miserably with a sixth place overall finish in the standings.
Brabham Alfa Romeo 1978 BT-46B foto
The fact remained for the past three years the Brabham - Alfa Romeo collaboration had failed to achieve much more than a couple of pole positions and a few high non-podium finishes. The car never won a Grand Prix race up to the middle of the third season and had to be content with a couple of 4th place finishes and a second place fuel-starved finish in 1977 by the Irishman John Watson.
The rising volume of disputes and inter-company bickering continued to rage between Ecclestone and Chiti over their failure to achieve anything remotely successful between their two powerful organizations. To Ecclestone's way of thinking the Alfa Romeo 12 cylinder engine and drivetrain was totally to blame for a vast majority of the substandard outsomes.
In near total secrecy, and in true Machiavellian fashon long dreamed about by the Ingeniere a decade prior ...behind the walls of Autodelta in Settimo MIlanese an experimental Formula 1 car named the Alfa "T" (for Total Alfa Romeo components) was being designed and constructed. ..with the full support and backing of Alfa Romeo S.p.A. ..unbeknownst to its Brabham team partner. The true design of the new Formula 1 car was initated in 1976.
In 1978 Eccelstone was able to secure the massive financial support of the Italian daily products conglomerate Parmalat and with it the ability to hire away World Champion Niki Lauda from his 200,000 ________annual salary with Ferrari.
According to Giancarlo Cervini writing in the May / June 1978 issue # 27 of Auto Italiana, Cervini revealed "The Alfa T...made its first rounds at Balocco, driven by Brambilla. The car, entirely designed and devised by Carlo Chiti in Autodelta, without anyone in the Alfa Experimental Workshop laying hands on it, is a single-seater which seem even too traditional."
The Alfa Romeo (T) Years
1978 Alfa Romeo F1 177 foto
1979 Alfa Romeo F1 178 foto
1980 Alfa Romeo F1 179 foto
1980 Alfa Romeo F1 179 C foto
1981 Alfa Romeo F1 180 foto
These largely unsuccessful F1 cars of the 1981 were essentially the final cars built by Autodelta in Settimo MIlanese "in house" before the takeover of the construction activities by outside vendors such as Advanced Composite Components of the UF building the new 182 in 1982..
The planning and general supervision of this 1981 car was maintainted by Ing. Carlo Chiti....this car only achieved a 4th place in Canada and a third place in Las Vegas.
Alfa Romeo F1 182 foto
This completely new fabrication of an Alfla Romeo Formula 1 car was named the "182", built largely of lightweight honeycomb carbon fiber materials and weighing under 1,200 pounds...said to have been built in only 90 days in the UK by Roger Slomans. It was introduced to the public on February 25, 1982 in downtown Milano.
Alfa Romeo F1 182 T
Alfa Romeo F1 183 T Euroracing
Alfa Romeo - Euroracing 184 T
This was the very last Formula 1 Alfa Romeo car supervised by Ing. Carlo Chiti before his withdrawal from employment with Alfa Romeo S.p.A. This car, known more appropriately as the 184 T/C was tested for the first time on January 11, 1984 at the Balocco testing facility...a few days after its public introduction. Ing. Chiti then immediately joined Piero Mancini in forming a new company Motoro Moderni a shiort drive away from Settimo Milanese in Novara.
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