What were the symbolic engines of Alfa Romeo's 'Cuore Sportivo' in F1?
Copyright Robert Little
After retiring from racing at the end of the victorious 1951 season, the series in which the 'Alfetta 159' powered Juan Manuel Fangio to win the world championship title, Alfa Romeo returned to the world of F1 in 1970 as the supplier of engines for several teams.
In 1970 Autodelta supplied 8-cylinder 90 ° V engines to Bruce McLaren for his 1970 McLaren Cars model M14D driven by Andrea de Adamich and, in 1971 for the March 711 of Nanni Galli and Ronnie Peterson.
The engine was derived from the 3-liter V-8 used by the 'Typo 33-3' that participated in the World Championship for Makes series.
Years later, the Brabham team owner Bernie Ecclestone inquired with Ing. Carlo Chiti of Autodelta to establish a inter-team relationship utilizing Chiti's highly proven 12 cylinder 'boxer' engine, culminating in the introduction of "BT45" Brabham-Alfa Romeo Formula 1 car of 1976.
The desire to actively return to the top formula with its own chassis and engine materialized in 1979 when Alfa Romeo made its debut on the Formula 1 circuits with it's secretly designed and developed 'Typo 177'.
This 177 was followed by the 100% Italian Alfa Romeo (Totale) 179 and Typo 182, cars that were managed by Autodelta until the end of 1982, and made the hearts of fans beat faster.
From the 1983 season, wrong choices led to the definitive disappearance of the brand with the disastrous 1985 season.
But what were the symbolic engines of the Alfa Romeo 'Sporting Heart' that made fans of the brand dream until 1987?
Let's find out together.
Alfa Romeo 'Type 105.80'
Alfa Romeo returned to Formula 1 racing in 1970 thanks to the interest of President Luraghi who wanted to adopt the Autodelta 33-3 sport engine for the McLaren MD14.
It returned with a 90 ° V-engine with bore and stroke measurements of 86 and 64.4 mm (2993 cc), equipped with an aluminum crankcase and aluminum cylinder head, with 4 valves per cylinder and 2 camshafts per cylinder. and crankshaft which rotated on 5 main supports.
Robust and compact, the Milanese V-8 had a design quite similar to that of the Ford-Cosworth DFV (four cam/four valve). Powered by a Spica indirect mechanical injection system, the McLaren version delivered an initial power of 403 hp at 9,400 rpm, which was increased to 420-425 hp at 9,500 rpm.
In 1971, passing to the application onto the March 711 chassis, the Milanese V-8 was capable of delivering a power of about 440 hp at 10,000 rpm, a power that was similar to that delivered by the Cosworth engines of the day.
Alfa Romeo 'Type 105-12'
Introduced to the motor racing world during the 1972 season, the Alfa Romeo 'boxer' was one of the most technically advanced engines of its time. It had an aluminum crankcase with chromed liners, bore of 77 and stroke of 53.6 mm 2,995 cc, crankshaft mounted on four main bearings, titanium connecting rods and a lubrication system with four recovery pumps.
The cylinder head was made of aluminum, with four valves per cylinder, angled at 35 °, double springs and cups for the double-axis control of the cams, moved by a train of gears. Its initial weight was 181 kg.
The engine used on the 33TT12 produced about 500 horsepower at 11,500 rpm.
After winning the 1975 World Championship for Makes series, the 'boxer' was mounted on the Brabham BT 45 to contest the 1976 season. It debuted in F1 producing 517 hp at 12,000 rpm and a torque of 33 kgm at 9,000 rpm.
Courtesy of Roberto F. Motta.
Over the years it used two types of indirect injection, Lucas and Spica.
In 1977 it was lightened and its weight dropped to 175 kg while the power went up to 525 hp.
In 1978 it reached its maximum evolution and some examples reached powers of 535 and 540 HP based on the different configurations.
Powerful and reliable, over the years the "boxer" proved to be an excellent companion for the correct evolution of the "ground effects".
But at the moment of time when the designs of the other F1 manufactruers were evolving quickly and efficently, the relatively heavy and wide twelve cylinder engine of Autodelta was abandoned in favor of a newer Carlo Chiti design, the V-12 60 degree powerplant.
Alfa Romeo 'Typo 1260'
The Alfa Romeo 'Typo 1260' engine, i.e. 12 cylinders in 60 ° V, characterized by bore and stroke measurements of 77.0 and 53.60 mm (2995 cc), exploited all of the experiences of the previous boxer which maintained some proprietary design details... such as the crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons and cylinder heads configuations.
Designed by the Autodelta staff under the direction of Ing. Chiti and assembled and tested in just four and a half months, this engine, thanks to its narrow 60 ° V architecture, was better designed for its use on a 'Ground Effects' car. With its granite appearance, its structure was characterized by narrow and high cylinder banks, which gave it a sense of solidity and great power.
Each group of 3 cylinders was placed next to each other with an identical ignition interval. The separate exhaust manifolds merged with a Type 3 system into one and then flowed into a single exhaust.
Courtesy Archives of Estate of Rey Paolini
Courtesy of Roberto F. Motta.
The 12-cylinder Alfa was also distinguished by its tremendous noise, typical of its very fractionated construction.
The V60 engine made it possible to create internal wings that were 40 cm wider than the wings used with the flat 12 cylinder boxer when cornering, thanks to the lateral venturi. The hidden wings of a wider width gave a downforce estimated to exceed several hundred kilograms weighing on the wheels.
At the time of its track debut, which took place in Lauda's BT48 in December 1978, it had an output of 525 hp at 12,200 rpm.
Over the years the engine had always maintained a high standard of reliability and power, reaching, in its latest versions, 540 horsepower at 12,300 rpm and a torque of over 35 kgm at 9,000-9,500 rpm.
Alfa Romeo 'Tipo 890T'
This engine, the only 8-cylinder in its category, was designed and built by Autodelta under the direction of the engineer Chiti.
Publically introduced on the occasion of the Italian Grand Prix at Imola in 1980, it made its competition debut at Monza later that season.
Featuring bore and stroke dimensions of 74mm and 43.5mm (1497cc) it weighed 130kg. Entirely made of alloy, the engine exploited double overhead camshaft distribution with gear control, 4 valves per cylinder, crankshaft in forged nitrided steel that rotated on five main supports, connecting rods in titanium alloy, with bolts and nuts in steel.
The engine project was initially carried out using only components developed in Italy from Alfa Avio turbines to the mechanical-electronic injection system developed by Alfa Romeo.
Courtesy of Roberto F. Motta.
These Italian components were some of the main weaknesses of the engine, so much so that Alfa Romeo engineers had to turn to KKK for the turbines and Bosch for the fuel injection system. But despite the changes, the race results did not change.
In the first tests, the engine, supercharged by two Avio turbines, were powered by a battery of 8 Weber carburetors, and proved capable of delivering 585 HP at 11,200 rpm, and of providing a torque of 39 kgm at 10,000 rpm. In the subsequent development, feeding was entrusted to a Spica injection system with mechanical distributor.
With the arrival in Alfa Romeo of Ing. Tonti, the engine, while maintaining the basic structural characteristics, was profoundly modified with the replacement of the cylinder block with integral liners and Nikasil treatment, new heads with different combustion chamber design and oversized valves, new pistons, new magnesium sump and carbon fiber valve covers.
A further step in the development was the adoption of electronic injection characterized by a three-parameter adjustment: engine speed, position of the throttle valve and boost pressure.
In the racing set-ups, with turbo pressures of the order of 2 atmospheres, the engine developed 600 horsepower at 10500 rpm, with 7: 1 compression ratio and 45 kgm torque at 9000 rpm.
An extension of the supercharging pressure up to 2.3 atmospheres and an increase in the engine speed up to 11500 rpm, made it possible to reach powers of 650-700 hp.
Among the other changes made...was the adoption in 1984 of the power supply system with water injection, followed by the electronic control of the power supply, the variable advance and the fully electronic injection.
In its last racing season, this engine was credited with a power of 800 hp at 11,000 rpm, power that, unofficially, could rise to 820-840 hp at a maximum boost pressure between 2.6 and 2.9 bar.
Alfa Romeo Type 415/85
Designed by engineer Gianni Tonti, this engine was created in anticipation of eventually suppling engines to the French Ligier team.
At the start of development tests powered by a Weber-Marelli electronic power supply system, the most advanced system of its period, it is capable of delivering 830-850 hp at 10,500 rpm in race configuration.
In its latest evolution, the one destined for the '87 Ligier, the Type 415/87, was characterized by bore and stroke dimensions of 92.0 and 56.4 mm (1499cc) and was capable of delivering 900 hp at 10,500 rpm .
Thanks to its compactness (it weighed only 135 kg) it was made up of 1364 pieces; the time to overhaul it was 230 hours instead of the 325 hours needed to overhaul the previous V-8.
After a long series of bench tests, it is mounted on a Euroracing chassis and tested on the track by the Ligier drivers.
During the tests in Imola, Arnoux made some questionable statements about the working capacity of the “Biscione” team.
The response of the new Alfa Romeo management, which in the meantime had passed to the FIAT group, was equally harsh and immediate. On the eve of the 1987 season, the collaborative relationship with the trans-alpine team was interrupted and the project suspended.
It was a real shame if one considers that the engine had proven to have excellent qualities on the dyno and development has just started on the track.
Once the 415 / 85T project was frozen, investments were directed towards a new V10 engine, the type 1035.
Alfa Romeo Type 1035
Aware of the future change in regulations which provided for the introduction of 3.5-liter naturally aspirated engines in F1 from 1989, the Alfa Romeo management decided to build a 72 ° V-shaped 10-cylinder.
The project officially kicked off in November 1985: the engine was designed and built under the management of Ing. Tonti.
The Alfa Romeo 1035 (10-cylinder-3.5 liter) engine was the first 10-cylinder in the history of modern F1 (Honda would later present a dummy of the engine just a month after the Italian V-10 was made and Renault making its V -10. a year later).
This V-10 featured bore and stroke measurements of 88.0 and 55.5mm (3495cc). It had an aluminum alloy engine block, titanium connecting rods and oil jet cooled pistons (with two segments) .
Initially, the heads were of the four-valve-per-cylinder type but were then replaced with new five-valve-per-cylinder heads. The valves were made of titanium, activated by 4 camshafts.
The engine was tested for the first time on 1 July 1986.
In its last version, the engine was capable of delivering 620 hp at 13,300 rpm with a maximum torque of 39 kgm at 9,500 rpm.
It was first fitted to the 164 Pro-car and then to the science fiction and wonderful Gr C SE048.
Both cars would never be used in a race and in particular ...in the SE048... it would never make a single lap of a track.
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