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What an Alfa Romeo F1 exit would really mean

Alfa Romeo may dump F1 in favour of Formula E.

Stellantis appears to be ready to accelerate its plans for electrifying the classic Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands.

Motorsport publication, The Race, reports Alfa Romeo may quit Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season and make the switch to the all-electric Formula E category. And if not with Alfa Romeo, it could be Maserati on the Formula E grid as Stellantis looks to improve the electric credentials of its famous Italian brands.

The report comes just weeks after former Peugeot CEO Jean-Philipe Imparato took the reins at Alfa Romeo as part of the Stellantis merger. Imparato is both a racing fan and an EV advocate and was key in Peugeot’s Le Mans return with a hybrid hypercar. He is on the record saying all motorsport needs to be electrified if it’s to be worthwhile for car makers as customers begin switching to EV road cars.

Formula E is set to introduce new ‘Gen3’ regulations for the 2022-23 season, with more powerful cars with faster charging thanks to 800-volt batteries. These rules are not only designed to make the racing more exciting by renewing manufacturer interest in the category as a test bed for future technology.

Alfa Romeo has been noticeably slow in making the switch to EVs, especially compared to new partners Peugeot and Citroen; which already offer a range of electrified models in Europe. By contrast, Alfa Romeo’s first hybrid is due this year, the new plug-in Tonale small SUV. Its maiden all-electric model is not set to arrive until 2022, when a yet-to-be-named compact SUV, using Peugeot technology, slots beneath the Tonale.

Maserati has already revealed plans for an overhaul of its entire range with electric versions of all of its new models, including the MC20 sports car. The company has developed an all-new modular electric powertrain dubbed, Folgore (Italian for lightning), that features three electric motors and an 800-volt electrical system.

While entering F1 has helped Alfa Romeo establish itself on the global market, sales of the Giulia and Stelvio remain slow. A switch to Formula E could help set the brand on a new path as it launches its first electric models.

Whether Stellantis chooses Alfa Romeo or Maserati to lead its Formula E program its clear the brand is charging into an electric future both on the road and racetrack.