Sixty years ago today (13th May), Alfa Romeo completed an historic 1-2-3 finish at the first ever Formula One European Championship race, which was held at Silverstone motor racing circuit.
Italian driver, Giuseppe Farina, dominated proceedings to bring home his 300bhp 158 race car – also known as the Alfetta – ahead of fellow Alfa drivers Luigi Fagioli and Britain’s Reg Parnell. All three finished two laps ahead of the 21-strong field.
To celebrate, one of the rare 158s which competed in this historic race has been pictured alongside the latest Alfa Romeo to bear the famous motorsport inspired Cloverleaf badge, the Alfa MiTo, for inclusion in the company’s commemorative Mosaic digital art project.
The image of the 158 and the MiTo will join others from owners past and present at www.alfacentenary.co.uk in a visual celebration of Alfa’s 100th anniversary.
The Alfa 158 (’15’ for 1,500cc and ‘8’ for 8 cylinders) secured victory in every Formula One race in which it competed during the inaugural 1950 session. Having made their motor racing debut in 1937, the 158s spent the war years dismantled and hidden in various inconspicuous places including, legend has it, an Italian cheese factory.
In total, the Alfa 158 and its derivative, the 159, dominated the Formula One calendar over the next few years, with 47 wins from 54 Grand Prix entered, and thus secured Alfa Romeo’s revered place in Formula One motor racing history.
Alfa Romeo enthusiasts keen to witness Alfa’s motor racing pedigree should visit the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year (2 – 4 July), where a 159 will be among a host of historic Alfas taking part in the event, which will also feature Alfa Romeo in its centenary year taking centre stage as the featured marque.