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The new Alfa Romeo ship isn’t sailing as smoothly as it should, with a planned assault on premium territory being delayed, but that hasn’t stopped them from considering taking on more ammunition – a return to Formula 1 is being considered, according to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) boss Sergio Marchionne.

The ESPN report says that as FCA invests heavily in its much-storied Italian marque to take on German premium brands, Marchionne believes a return to the top tier of racing as a rival for Ferrari would be an important step for Alfa Romeo. Ferrari is of course Alfa’s sister brand in the FCA stable.

“It’s incredible how the Alfa Romeo brand remains in people’s hearts. For that reason we are thinking of it returning to Formula 1 racing as our competitor. It’s important for Alfa Romeo to return. It will be another competitor,” Marchionne was quoted by Italian media as saying. Let’s hope that no salt and pepper was added in the translation process.

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Not known to some younger fans, Alfa Romeo has a rich motorsports heritage that stretches back beyond the formation of the F1 world championship in 1950 to 1911. Its ten F1 victories and two drivers’ titles came in the first two years of the championship before the works team withdrew from the series.

Alfa existed as an engine supplier in the 60s and 70s before the company’s return to the sport as a constructor between 1979 and 1985. The famous serpent was never to be seen again until this season, when Alfa Romeo badging was seen on the Ferrari SF15-T’s engine cover.

This latest development comes after reports that the Alfa Romeo Giulia’s supporting cast of seven models will be delayed from 2018 till mid-2020 at the earliest. Even the Giulia itself, including the hot Quadrifoglio and more sedate variants, has been reported to be behind schedule. There’s a grand plan for Alfa, which the Cuore Sportivo brand deserves, but first things first perhaps?

GALLERY: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio