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An Alfa Romeo GP Tipo 159 will lead the drivers parade ahead of this year's British Grand Prix, commemorating the first Grand Prix victory in the history of F1.

13 Jul 2019 | International News : U.K.

The legendary Alfa Romeo GP Tipo 159 'Alfetta' will lead the drivers' parade ahead of this year's British Grand Prix, driven by Kimi Raikkonen of the Alfa Romeo Racing Team. The 159 is an evolution of the 158 model that won the first grand prix in the history of F1, driven by Nino Farina on 13 May, 1950.

The classic Alfa Romeo GP Tipo 159 'Alfetta' will lead the drivers’ parade ahead of this year’s British Grand Prix
After World War II Alfa Romeo, with its Tipo 158 'Alfetta', joined a number of brands competing in the Grand Prix. The car was built back in 1938 and incredibly had survived the conflict, hidden in a farm, under a fake woodpile.

The car was fitted with an innovative 195bhp twin-cam straight-eight engine, with a Roots-type supercharger. It featured an in-unit gearbox with differential and was mounted on the rear axle, a design that would appear on rear-wheel drive Alfa Romeo road cars such as the Alfetta, 75 and SZ.

Alfa achieved supremacy in 1947 and 1948 by constantly developing the cars. However when tragedy struck in 1949, Alfa Romeo withdrew from Grand Prix racing to prepare for the inaugural Formula One World Championship in 1950.

FCA Heritage Collection preparing the car to lead this weekend's race
The car's power rose significantly to 350bhp at 8,500rpm, giving it a top speed of 291km/h. The first ever F1 race was held at Silverstone where Alfa Romeo competed with a team affectionately known as the three 'Fs' - Farina, Fangio and Fagioli. The fourth car was given to Reg Parnell, who came in third, behind Fagioli and the winner Farina. The team achieved 11 victories in 11 races and Nino Farina won the first F1 World Championship.

In the 1951 season Alfa Romeo radically developed the car, which then became known as the GP Tipo 159. The power output increased to 425bhp at 9,300rpm, with peaks of 450bhp, and a top speed in excess of 314km/h.

Going into the final race of the season, Farina had won two races and Fangio three and by winning the Spanish GP, the Argentinian was crowned World Champion. For the 1952 season, Alfa Romeo decided to withdraw - unbeaten - from Grand Prix racing.

The car leading the pack at this weekend’s race belongs to the FCA Heritage Collection, the department dedicated to protecting and promoting the history of the Italian brands of FCA. It is usually on display in the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese, Milan - La Macchina del Tempo.

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