1969: a difficult year
As mentioned, the 33/3 made its debut at Sebring.
The team was unable to adapt the car to the hot climate of Florida, so much so that it had problems right from the first practice sessions. In the race it was a disaster. Nanni was forced to retire due to the loss of a wheel after only 3 laps. The cars' of teammates Casoni and Bianchi surrendered due to overheating of the engine.
Back in Europe, Autodelta sent a 33/3 to Le Mans for spring testing... during which Bianchi tragically suffered a fatal accident. The terrible accident came down hard on the Alfa Romeo and Autodelta environment, so much so that the development of the car was interrupted.
Nanni then continued his F2 adventure with Tecno, starting at Truxon, Hochenheim, Pau, Nürburgring and Pergusa.
In the meantime, Autodelta decided to take part in the Targa Florio on 4 May 1969 with the old 33/2. Nanni started with Giunti, but was forced to retire.
For the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nanni was contacted by Gérard Docarouge who offered him the Matra MS630. For him, and for Autodelta, it was a very useful experience because he discovered that the Matra was aerodynamically far advanced compared to Alfa Romeo. He defined the trans alpine V-12 engine as:
“...extraordinarily superior to the Alfa Romeo V8. Very elastic, bright but not nervous”.
Matra asked Autodelta for the possibility of also having Nino Vaccarella and Piers Courage available.
The experience gained at Le Mans allowed Nanni to help the development of the 33/3 to proceed much faster.
The new car reappeared in the race at the 1000 km of Zeltweg, where Galli and Giunti were forced to retire.
Nanni concluded his season with the Imola 500km where he drove the 33/3 to a disappointing 18th place.
1970: a year of changes
Alfa Romeo, or perhaps it is better to say IRI the main shareholder, decided to continue the development of the 33 with the ambition of aiming for absolute victory, and this brought the inflow of capital back to Autodelta.
Meanwhile, Nanni's friend and teammate, Ignazio Giunti left Autodelta for Ferrari. Nanni repeatedly said he was happy with his friend's choice, and was convinced that he would face an interesting challenge, also because Giunti could make his debut with the 312B in F1.
Rolf Stommelen, replaced Giunti at the wheel of the 33/3 .
Also, Nanni, like Giunti, had the dream of reaching F1 and, by virtue of the fact that Ing. Chiti was developing an engine for F1, he was convinced that he would someday have the possibility to realize his dream.
The season began with the 1000 km of Buenos Aires, where the 33/3 proved to be superior to the Matra and very close to the Porsche. Everything seemed to go well and, despite being forced to surrender, the 33/3 proved to be competitive, even managing to lead the race for several laps.
Over the course of the season Nanni took part in 11 races with the 33/3, obtaining 2nd place at the Imola 500 km as his best result. He also raced with the GTAm 2000 and the GTA 1300 Junior, and also took part in the Mugello Grand Prix with the Lola T210.
Then, on 4 September 1970, the 33/3 made its debut in the official tests of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. We must remember that, during the season, Alfa Romeo had reached an agreement for the supply of some power units with McLaren. The Italian V8 was mounted on the M7D/1, a car derived from the M7A, which was initially entrusted to Andrea de Adamich, who used it without any success in some of the championship races.
After various qualifying attempts, de Adamich used the M14D starting from the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. For the Italian Grand Prix, Alfa Romeo lined up two cars, the M7D/1 was entrusted to Nanni, and the M14D to de Adamich. For Galli it was an unfortunate debut and he failed to qualify.
Season 1971: competing on all fronts
Alfa Romeo had dissolved the agreement with McLaren in favor of a collaboration with March, who made chassis 711-1 available. This chassis was mainly used by de Adamich, while Nanni used it in the Monaco and Austrian Grand Prixs. The same year, thanks to the financial help of Count Zanon, Nanni had chassis 711-4 at his disposal which he raced with both the Alfa Romeo engine and the Ford-Cosworth engine.
His debut with the new car, equipped with an Alfa Romeo engine, took place in practice for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix but he failed to qualify for the race.
In the following races, with the 711-4 equipped with the Alfa Romeo engine, he obtained 12th place at the Nürburgring and at Zeltweg. In the other races he used the Ford-Cosworth engine.
He got his best result at Silverstone where he finished 11th.
In the same year he contributed to the development of the new Tecno F1 with 12-cylinder 'boxer' engine, a car that was supposed to make its debut in the Victory Race in October.
Parallel to his activity in F1, he continued his commitment with Alfa Romeo and took part in 8 races with the 33/3 and had the new 33TT3 at his disposal at the Zeltweg and Watkins Glen 1000 km tests.
His best result was 2nd place at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
1972: a year full of disappointments
This was the year in which Autodelta fielded the 33TT3, but it was also the year in which relations between Galli and Alfa Romeo Autodelta deteriorated to the point of breaking up.
Among the probable causes of the divorce, we recall that:
1.) Galli was very critical both on the choices made by the Autodelta management and on the competitiveness of the 33TT3, expressing his ideas to journalists.
2). The 'bad' result he obtained in the Targa Florio and his participation in the French Grand Prix driving a Ferrari 312 B2.
But let's see how the season went.
In the opening races of the championship, the 33TT3 was soundly beaten by the Ferrari 312P, so much so that, after the fourth Ferrari one-two finish, Autodelta announced it would not race in the 1000 km of Monza and at Spa with he stated goal of returning to the Targa Florio.
To tackle the Sicilian race, Autodelta made a considerable effort by sending 4 cars, entrusted to eight experienced drivers: Andrea de Adamich, Toine Hezemans, Rolf Stommelen, Nino Vaccarella, Vic Elford, Gijs Van Lennep, Nanni Galli and Helmut Marko.
While Ferrari was in dispute with the organizers of the race...while at first it revealed the possibility of deserting the event entirely, then it sent only one car for Arturo Merzario- Sandro Munari.
On race day Vic Elford started like a bullet but over the course of the 1st lap he broke the oil pan.
Merzario's Ferrari then took the lead. On lap 3, Stommelen stopped with a broken V8. Behind the Ferrari passed the 33TT3 of Galli, who had driven carefully without ever risking the mechanics of the car, and handed over the wheel to Helmut Marko.
Meanwhile, Munari who had replaced Merzario on the 312P proved to be slow, so much so that the wild Marko overtook him.
The Alfa thus remained in the lead for the next 2 laps, then, as expected, there was a driver change: the Alfa Romeo and the Ferrari stopped in the pits. Merzario and the 312P resumed the race after pitting for 25 seconds, while Galli started after 40 seconds.
Merzario threw himself into the hunt for Galli with the aim of recovering the minute and a half lost by Munari.
On lap 8, at the end of his driving shift, Galli saw the red reserve light come on which, from intermittent to fixed towards Campofelice: there was no fuel, and it was impossible to reach the pits.
At Campofelice, Galli stopped for an emergency top-up, which was documented by the weekly Autosprint, while Merzario took over the lead. The last stint of the race was faced with the reverse situation, with Ferrari in the lead and Alfa Romeo in 2nd position.
Ferrari restarted with Munari, and the 33TT3 with Marko. Munari did just one lap, then passed the car back to Merzario who limited himself to stemming the unleashed Austrian driver. On the last lap, Merzario passed with an advantage of 42", then, driving with 'prudence', he won the race with an 16.8 second advantage.
The Autodelta management went into a rage, and leaked the rumor that the 'searing defeat' was due to a mistake by Galli who, due to a spin, would have lost precious time, and therefore the race.
Relations between them deteriorated to the point of breaking up, so much so that Galli discovered that he would not have been part of the Autodelta team from the weekly Autosprint. After being stranded at Zeltweg, Galli's last race for Alfa Romeo was the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he retired with mechanical problems.
In the same season, Galli brought the Tecno F1 to its debut at the Belgian GP and took 3rd place in the Grand Prix of the Italian Republic at Vallelunga. The result of the race, not valid for the world championship standings, was also obtained thanks to the small number of participants, including the Ferrari drivers.
Galli was called by Ferrari who offered him the opportunity to replace Clay Regazzoni for the French Grand Prix, as the Swiss driver had injured his wrist during a football match and was thus unable to drive an F1.
Galli tested the Ferrari 312 B2 at Fiorano for a few laps and tackled the Grand Prix trials without knowing the French circuit. He got the fastest 20th time in qualifying and finished the race in 13th place.
The approach with Ferrari, albeit occasional, saw the birth of some controversies also in Ferrari: the Ferrari sports director Schetty would have preferred Redman or Merzario, but the choice of driver had been made unquestionably by Drake himself.