It is interesting who the Formula One history books choose to remember. Gilles Villeneuve is deified for his struggles with ill-handling machinery and having quite a few unnecessary accidents. Bruno Giacomelli, who worked similar wonders with the Alfa Romeo in from 1979-83, is seemingly forgotten. An F3 and F2 star, Giacomelli entered Formula One with Alfa in 1979, where both he and the car struggled in the ultra-competitive environment.
However 1980 was a different story, as the immensely powerful, yet bulky and ill-handling Alfa was often to be found at the front of the field. Together with Patrick Depailler (until he was tragically killed) Giacomelli developed the Alfa into a front runner with race winning potential. But spins in Holland and Canada, the result of impatience, threw away certain podiums. Watkins Glen was a different matter as the Italian was robbed of a certain win when the car failed.
The following three years were disappointing as Alfa fell backwards and Giacomelli’s driving never lost its rough edges. Out of a drive for 1984 the Italian turned to sports cars. His Formula One story does not end there as he was tempted back to try and haul the hopeless Life car through pre-qualifying in 1990. But for some rash moves and a spate of car failures, Giacomelli and Alfa’s Formula One biography could have been remarkably different.