Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has hinted at a possible Alfa Romeo F1 team in the future, which could be a “fine breeding ground for young Italian drivers”.
Is Ferrari looking at going down the Red Bull/Toro Rosso route, by forming a second team to be a training ground for young drivers?
That’s certainly what it seems Marchionne has hinted at, although he admits Alfa Romeo would have to wait a little while until an F1 project could be possible.
No Italian F1 driver has raced in the sport since Jarno “Trulli train” and Vitantonio Liuzzi at the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Ferrari hasn’t had an Italian driver in F1 since Giancarlo Fisichella filled in for Felipe Massa at the end of the 2009 season (remember, after the disaster that was Luca Badoer?). But it did just sign GP2 runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi as its third driver for 2017.
According to Marchionne, Alfa returning to F1 – for the first time since 1985 as a constructor, 1988 as an engine supplier – would be a strong way for Italian youngsters to break into F1.
However, he did admit there isn’t space for an Alfa F1 project at the moment, but there is scope for one in the future. Here’s what he told Italian media:
“Alfa Romeo in F1 could become a fine breeding ground for young Italian drivers. The best one, Giovinazzi, is already with us, but there are others besides him, and they are struggling to find room.
“Alfa Romeo, more than our customer teams, could offer them that space. The space for Alfa Romeo is there – it’s a project that in whatever form must find its place.
“We have spoken also with [Mattia] Binotto and [Maurizio] Arrivabene to understand in what way Alfa Romeo can collaborate with Ferrari.
“The problem is that, at the moment, because of the launch of road cars that will come out soon, there already numerous commitments from a financial point of view. With the launch of the Giulia and the Stelvio [road cars] we have to wait for a bit, but I hope to be able to bring it back.”
Although Marchionne said Ferrari wouldn’t be trying to emulate Red Bull/Toro Rosso, he did say the Maranello-based outfit needs a pool of young drivers who would be ready to step up to the Scuderia.
So exactly like Red Bull/Toro Rosso.