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Alfa Romeo 158
1938 alfa romeo tipo 158 alfetta-wide
Constructor Alfa Romeo
Designer(s) Gioacchino Colombo
Predecessor 8C-35
Successor 159
Formula One World Championship
Years Active 1950
Constructors Alfa Romeo SpA
Drivers 1. Italy Giuseppe Farina

2. Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio

3. Italy Luigi Fagioli

4. United Kingdom Reg Parnell

46. Italy Consalvo Sanesi

60. Italy Piero Taruffi

Debut 1950 British Grand Prix
Races 6
Wins 6
Poles 6
Fastest Laps 6
Constructors' Championships 0
Drivers' Championships 1 (1950 - Giuseppe Farina)

The Alfa Romeo 158, also known as the Alfetta (Little Alfa in Italian) was one of the most successful racing cars ever produced. It was originally developed for the pre-World War II voiturette formula (1937), Giuseppe Farina drove it to Drivers' Championship glory in 1950. The car won every race in 1950 apart from the Indianapolis 500 which it was not entered for. The 158 was replaced by the 159, an update of this car.

DesignEdit

When first used in 1938 the 158's 1479.56 cc (58.0 x 70.00 mm) staight-eight engine produced up to 200 bhp (150 kW) at 7000 rpm with the use of a single-stage Roots supercharger with 17.6 psi boost and twin overhead camshafts. The engine block was cast in Magnesium which at the time was unusual. It consisted of two seperate castings which were intergrated with a common head. The sump and cranckcase were cast in identical metal. The crankshaft was made of chrome Nickle steel and in total the whole engine weighed a mere 363 Ib (165 kg)

Development ceased during the Second World War, but afterwards development resumed on the 158. In 1946 the engine was modified to produce up to 254 bhp (189 kW). In 1948 the Engine was modified once again to produce over 300 bhp (220 kW) at 8,600 rpm for the Formula One regulations.

Technical specificationsEdit

Component Specification
Chassis Aluminium body panels on steel tubular chassis
Front suspension Trailing links, transverse leaf spring, friction/hydraulic shock absorbers
Rear suspension Swing axles, transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring, friction/hydraulic shock absorbers
Tyres P Pirelli
Brakes Lockheed hydraulic drums, all-round
Wheelbase / Track (fr/r) 2,502 mm (98.5 in) / 1,270 mm (50 in) / 1,321 mm (52 in)
Weight 700 kg (1,543 lbs)
Engine Alfa Romeo 158, 1,479 cc (90.3 cu in), straight-8, Roots-type supercharger, front mounted
Gearbox 4 speed Manual
Fuel Shell
Fuel tank


Racing HistoryEdit

1938 - 1949Edit

The first version of this successful racing car was made during 1937/1938. The main responsibility for engineering was given to Gioacchino Colombo. 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. More success came from the car in 1940 with the Coppa Acerbo, Coppa Ciano and Tripoli Grand Prix. The development and racing of the car like many other was soon stopped by the Second World War, but later continued in 1946.

In 1947 the 158 was allowed to enter the new Formula One. This meant the 158 had to be modified once again to accommodate the new rules. The made made its debut at the tragic 1948 Swiss Grand Prix where Achille Varzi lost control of his car and was killed. Alfa Romeo lost another driver in practice for the 1949 Buenos Aires Grand Prix where Jean-Pierre Wimille was killed in an accident while driving with the Simca-Gordini team.

1950Edit

In 1950 the car was used by the Alfa Romeo team in the inagural 1950 Formula One season. The car won all races apart from the Indianapolis which it was not entered. Guiseppe Farina won the World Drivers' Championship in this car, with Fangio and Fagioli finishing second and third. The only time in the championship that the 158 would not lead a lap was at Spa and Monza where a Talbot and a Ferrari took over due to better fuel economey,

Farina won the opening race in Britain while Fagioli and Reg Parnell finished second and third. Fangio retired with engine trouble.

At the next race in Monaco Farina trigged a nine car pile up at the flooded Tabac corner while Fangio, who had got a better start and missed the carnage, went onto win the race.

Farina and fangio headed to Switzerland joint first in the Championship. Farina and Fagioli scored a one-two at the next Grand Prix in Switzerland. Once again Fangio suffered an engine failure.

At Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix Fangio fought back to win his second race of the year ahead of Fagioli. Farina sturggled but managed to secure a fourth place which would be important in the championship battle.

After making an amazing start at the French Grand Prix Farina retired gifting victory to Fangio ahead of Fagioli. The championship would go down to the final race, all three of the Alfa drivers having a chance to win it.

At Monza Fagioli was the least likely to secure the crown; he had a series of second places and the points system did not favour him. For Farina to win the championship he had to finish first and Fangio had to finish third or lower. Farina took the lead follwed by Ascari, but Fangio was driving perfectly doing just enough for him to secure the championship when on lap 22 he suffered a gearbox problem. He took over the car of Tarufii and began to race again but on lap 35 had to retire again gifting Farina the championship.

The car also won all 5 non-championship races that it was entered for.

Complete Formula One World Championship resultsEdit

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position, results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Points WCC
1950 Alfa Romeo SpA Alfa Romeo 158 1.5 L8 P GBR MON 500 SUI BEL FRA ITA 88 -*
Italy Giuseppe Farina 1 Ret 1 4 7 1
Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Ret 1 Ret 1 1 Ret
Italy Luigi Fagioli 2 Ret 2 2 2 3
United Kingdom Reg Parnell 3
Italy Gianbattista Guidotti DNS
Italy Consalvo Sanesi Ret
Italy Piero Taruffi Ret

* The Constructors' Championship was not awarded until 1958.

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.grandprixhistory.org/alfa158.htm
  2. http://www.statsf1.com/en/alfa-romeo-158.aspx
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfa_Romeo_158
  4. http://www.f1technical.net/f1db/cars/2/alfa-romeo-158
  5. http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/6/Alfa-Romeo-158--Alfetta-.html

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