The world of F1 should not get too excited about a potential return to the sport of Alfa Romeo, former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has warned. Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler president Sergio Marchionne lit the speculation about the iconic Italian marque when he announced that he is "thinking about its return to racing, as our competitor, in formula one".
Driving for Alfa Romeo, Giuseppe Farina won the first world championship in 1950, and the brand was present as an engine supplier as recently as the late 80s. But Germany's Auto Motor und Sport speculates that Marchionne may only be envisaging Alfa Romeo as the branding for his proposal to set up a new supplier that could provide cheaper engines to struggling smaller teams.
"The reason the deal with Red Bull was not successful was that, in light of the recovery we did in 2015, committing our own power unit to a team that has the technical capabilities of Red Bull would have been dangerous," said Marchionne. "What interests me is that Ferrari wins, not Red Bull. But Ferrari has the technical abilities to provide engineering solutions to others," he added.
Ex Ferrari president Montezemolo, meanwhile, said that he has heard "so many" rumours about Alfa Romeo coming back into F1 over the years. "We will see, I don't know," the 68-year-old, now the Alitalia chief and heading Rome's bid for the 2024 Olympics, told Italy's Autosprint. "As an Italian I hope for it, but it is necessary to see if all these communications are followed by facts. Because I repeat, over the years so much has been said about Alfa Romeo," Montezemolo added.
More generally, Montezemolo said he thinks the biggest issue facing F1 at present is a lack of competitive teams. When asked by Autosprint about what F1 will be like in the post-Bernie Ecclestone era, he answered: "The real issue is that at the moment there are only two teams."
"This year when Mercedes had problems, the only one that could win was Ferrari. I also believe that the issue of governance is very important, but I don't want to say more because someone might think I want to debate, and I would really rather talk about the Olympics!" Montezemolo added.
As for Ferrari's hopes of catching and passing Mercedes in 2016, he said: "For Ferrari there are reasons to be optimistic but we also need to see what jump in performance Mercedes is able to make. I recently had breakfast with (Niki) Lauda and he told me that Mercedes is not going to sit and wait for them," Montezemolo said. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing