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  Alfa Romeo 179
 

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1979 - 1981
Numbers built:6
Successor:Alfa Romeo 182 F1
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:October 06, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAfter winning the first two Formula 1 World Championships in 1950 and 1951, Alfa Romeo withdrew from single seater racing to focus on the new road car line-up and various sports cars. In the following years, works racing was abandoned, but the Milanese firm offered plenty of support for privateers racing their products. When Autodelta was established as Alfa Romeo's racing department halfway into the 1960s, the company was completely back into racing.

Autodelta focussed on GT and sportscar racing in the first ten years of its existence and did so with considerable success. A similarity in sportscar/prototype and Formula 1 regulations made the V8 engine used in the Tipo 33 a potential Grand Prix engine. Various F1 racers did in fact use the engine, but with no real factory support or success. Autodelta first entered Formula 1 in 1976 as an engine supplier for the Brabham team.

After the withdrawal from sportscar racing, Autodelta could completely focus on constructing a Grand Prix racer of their own. After thorough testing the Alfa Romeo 177 made its debut at the 1979 Belgian Grand Prix. Its driver was Bruno Giacomelli, who had just won the Formula 2 championships with an unprecedented eight victories. Power for the 177 came from the same flat-12 unit used by Brabham in the previous seasons. The extensive testing and Brabham experience resulted in an impressive pace, but no finishes were recorded in the three races it was used.

One of the main reasons the 177 was abandoned after only three outings was its engine configuration. Ground effects had completely taken over and a flat engine did not allow for large under-body Venturis because of its considerable width. At the Monza Grand Prix Alfa Romeo's second car of the season was unveiled. To accommodate large Venturis, a newly designed 60 degree V12 engine was fitted in the 179. Whereas the 177 was livered in Alfa Romeo's characteristic dark red, the 179 featured sponsor colours and markings.

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  Article Image gallery (34) Chassis (2) Specifications User Comments (1)