Alfa Romeo 158/159 Alfetta

The Alfa Romeo 158/159, also known as the Alfetta (Little Alfa in Italian), is one of the most successful racing cars ever produced. The 158 and its derivative, the 159, took 47 wins from 54 Grands Prix entered. It was originally developed for the pre-World War II voiturette formula (1937) and has a 1.5 litre straight-8 supercharged engine. Following World War II, the car was eligible for the new Formula One introduced in 1947. In the hands of drivers such as Nino Farina, Juan-Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli, it dominated the first two seasons of the World Championship of Drivers.
Alfa Romeo 158, 159, 159A, 159B, 159M
Voiturette (1938–1947)
Formula One (1948–1951)
Alfa Romeo
Gioacchino Colombo
Technical specifications
Single-seater, tubular frame
Suspension (front)
Trailing arm, transverse leaf springs, hydraulic dampers
Suspension (rear)
Swing axle*, transverse leaf spring, hydraulic dampers
*De-Dion-axle was one of the last modifications 1951.
Alfa Romeo 158/159 1,479 cc (90.3 cu in), straight-8, Roots-type supercharger**, front mounted.
** 158: single stage – 190 bhp (142 kW) @ 6500 rpm (voit), 350 bhp (261 kW) @ 8500 rpm (F1); 159: two stage – 425 bhp (317 kW) @ 9300 rpm
Alfa 4-speed manual
Shell (98.5 % methanol, 1 % Castor oil, 0.5 % water)
Competition history
Notable entrants
Alfa Romeo SpA
Notable drivers
Emilio Villoresi
Achille Varzi
Giuseppe Farina
Carlo Felice Trossi
Jean-Pierre Wimille
Consalvo Sanesi
Alberto Ascari
1. Giuseppe Farina
2. Juan Manuel Fangio
3. Luigi Fagioli (1950)
3. Felice Bonetto (1951)
Reg Parnell, Consalvo Sanesi, Piero Taruffi (1950)
Emmanuel de Graffenried, Luigi Fagioli, Paul Pietsch, Consalvo Sanesi (1951)
1938 Coppa Ciano Junior (158)
1951 BRDC International Trophy (159)
Fastest laps
41 (GP)
13 (F1)
37 (GP)
10 (F1)
10 (F1)
13 (F1)
Constructor’s Championships
Not applicable before 1958
Drivers’ Championships
2 (1950 – Giuseppe Farina
1951 – Juan Manuel Fangio)


The 1.5L supercharged straight-8 159 engine
Drivers place
Alfa Romeo 159 at Nürburgring
The first version of this successful racing car, the 158, was made during 1937/1938. The main responsibility for engineering was given toGioacchino Colombo.
The car's name refers to its 1.5 litre engine and eight cylinders. The voiturette class was for racing cars with 1.5 litre engines, standing in the same relation to the top 'Grand Prix' formula (usually for 3 litre engines) as the GP2 series does to Formula One today. Alfa's 3 litre racing cars in 1938 and 1939 were the Tipo 308, 312 and 316.
The 158 debuted with the works Alfa Corse team at the Coppa Ciano Junior in August 1938 at Livorno, Italy, where Emilio Villoresi took the car's first victory. At that time the 1479.56  cc (58.0 x 70.0 mm) engine produced around 200 bhp (150 kW) at 7000 rpm. with the help of a single-stage Roots blower. More success came at the Coppa Acerbo, Coppa Ciano and Tripoli Grand Prix in May 1940. Soon World War II stopped development of the car for six years. After the war the engine was developed further to push out 254 bhp (189 kW) in 1946.
In 1947, the Alfetta was put back into service. The new rules allowed 1500 cc supercharged and 4500 cc naturally aspirated engines. The 158 was modified again, this time to produce over 300 bhp (220 kW) and was denoted as Tipo 158/47. The car made a tragic debut in the 1948 Swiss Grand Prix where Achille Varzi lost control of his car and was killed. Another loss for the team came in practice for the 1949 Buenos Aires Grand Prix, where Jean-Pierre Wimille was killed in an accident (driving with Simca-Gordini).
In 1950, the 158 was eligible for the new Formula One European Championship. The car won every race in which it competed during that first season of Formula One; it was incredible that a car which had originated in 1938 was so victorious, most likely because all the other constructors (as few as there were) had less money to build and develop their cars and the Alfa had so much development time. The Alfa Romeo team included talented drivers such as Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio, the latter of whom later won the World Drivers' Championship five times.
At the end of the 1950 season, a further updated version known as the 159 was produced, which was used for the 1951 season. This version had reworked rear suspension, the old swing axle was replaced with a De-Dion axle and the engine produced around 420 bhp (313 kW) at 9600 rpm. But this amount of power out of a small engine with a big supercharger came at a price- it had horrendous fuel consumption. It did 1 1/2 miles to the gallon- compared to the Talbot-Lagos of the time which did 10 miles to the gallon. The reason for this was because the simplistically designed engine had been virtually unmodified, while bigger superchargers had been added over time. The British Grand Prix at Silverstone was the first Formula One Grand Prix not won by an Alfa primarily because Fangio and Farina both had to stop twice simply to re-fuel their cars- and the Ferrari of José Froilán González did better on fuel and would go on to win the race, with Fangio second. Still, the Alfa had the edge on performance and with wins in Switzerland, France and Spain, Fangio won his first of five championships that year. For their second-to-last World Championship race (until 1979), the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Alfa Romeo introduced a new evolution version known as the 159M, the "M" standing for Maggiorata ("enlarged").
After an unsuccessful bid by Alfa Romeo to obtain government assistance to meet development costs, the team announced their retirement from Grand Prix racing at the end of 1951. This, combined with problems for other Formula One teams lead to a decree by the FIA that all Grand Prix races counting towards the World Championship of Drivers in 1952 and 1953 would be for cars complying with Formula Two rather than Formula One .
Alfa Romeo 159 F1 car

Race victories

August 7, 1938158Coppa CianoLivornoVoituretteEmilio Villoresi
September 11, 1938158Milan Grand PrixMonzaVoituretteEmilio Villoresi
July 30, 1939158Coppa CianoLivornoVoituretteGiuseppe Farina
August 13, 1939158Coppa AcerboPescaraVoituretteClemente Biondetti
August 20, 1939158Swiss Grand PrixBremgartenVoituretteGiuseppe Farina
May 12, 1940158Tripoli Grand PrixLibyaVoituretteGiuseppe Farina
July 21, 1946158Grand Prix of NationsGeneva-Giuseppe Farina
September 1, 1946158Valentino Grand PrixTurin, Valentino Parknon-Champ. F1Achille Varzi
September 30, 1946158Milan Grand PrixMilan, Sempione Park-Carlo Felice Trossi
June 8, 1947158Swiss Grand PrixBremgarten-Jean-Pierre Wimille
June 29, 1947158European Grand PrixSpa-Jean-Pierre Wimille
July 13, 1947158Bari Grand PrixBari-Achille Varzi
September 7, 1947158Italian Grand PrixMilan, Sempione Park-Carlo Felice Trossi
July 4, 1948158Swiss Grand PrixBremgarten-Carlo Felice Trossi
July 18, 1948158French Grand PrixReims-Jean-Pierre Wimille
September 5, 1948158Italian Grand PrixTurin, Valentino Park-Jean-Pierre Wimille
October 17, 1948158Autodrome Grand PrixMonza-Jean-Pierre Wimille
April 16, 1950158San Remo Grand PrixOspedaletti-Juan Manuel Fangio
May 13, 1950158European Grand PrixSilverstoneFormula OneGiuseppe Farina
May 21, 1950158Monaco Grand PrixMonacoFormula OneJuan Manuel Fangio
June 4, 1950158Swiss Grand PrixBremgartenFormula OneGiuseppe Farina
June 18, 1950158Belgian Grand PrixSpaFormula OneJuan Manuel Fangio
July 2, 1950158French Grand PrixReimsFormula OneJuan Manuel Fangio
July 9, 1950158Bari Grand PrixBari-Giuseppe Farina
July 30, 1950158Grand Prix of NationsGeneva-Juan Manuel Fangio
August 15, 1950158Coppa AcerboPescara-Juan Manuel Fangio
August 26, 1950158International TrophySilverstonenon-Champ. F1Giuseppe Farina
September 3, 1950158Italian Grand PrixMonzaFormula OneGiuseppe Farina
May 27, 1951159Swiss Grand PrixBremgartenFormula OneJuan Manuel Fangio
June 2, 1951159Ulster TrophyDundrod-Giuseppe Farina
June 17, 1951159Belgian Grand PrixSpaFormula OneGiuseppe Farina
July 1, 1951159French Grand PrixReimsFormula OneLuigi Fagioli/Juan Manuel Fangio
October 28, 1951159Spanish Grand PrixPedralbesFormula OneJuan Manuel Fangio
September 2, 1951159Bari Grand PrixBari-Juan Manuel Fangio
1953159Merano Grand PrixItaly-Juan Manuel Fangio
Complete Formula One World Championship results
(results in bold indicate pole position, results in italics indicate fastest lap)
1950158Alfa Romeo 158 1.5 L8PGBRMON500SUIBELFRAITA88-*
Giuseppe Farina1Ret1471
Juan Manuel FangioRet1Ret11Ret
Luigi Fagioli2Ret2223
Reg Parnell3
Gianbattista GuidottiDNS
Consalvo SanesiRet
Piero TaruffiRet
1951159Alfa Romeo 158 1.5 L8PSUI500BELFRAGBRGERITAESP75-*
Giuseppe Farina315RetRet33
Juan Manuel Fangio19122Ret1
Toulo de Graffenried5Ret6
Consalvo Sanesi4Ret106f
Gianbattista GuidottiDNS
Luigi Fagioli1
Felice Bonetto4Ret35
Paul PietschRet
GBR - British Grand Prix
MON - Monaco Grand Prix
500 - Indianapolis 500
SUI - Swiss Grand Prix
BEL - Belgian Grand Prix
FRA - French Grand Prix
ITA - Italian Grand Prix
GER - German Grand Prix
ESP - Spanish Grand Prix
* The Constructors' Championship was not awarded until 1958.

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Last updated on 7 October 2013 at 15:46.


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