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There was a lot of excitement and romance around Andretti’s move from Lotus, where he’d won the championship just three years prior, to the comparatively unproven Alfa Romeo outfit. The 41-year-old Italian-born hero ending his career at an Italian team.

The Alfa Romeo 179C is the very car the 1978 Formula 1 World Champion drove to fourth place that day in Long Beach, California. Chassis 02 was entered by the Works Marlboro Team Alfa Romeo in nine rounds of the 1981 season – five in the hands of Andretti and four in the hands of Bruno Giacomelli. Imola, Zolder, Monte-Carlo, Jarama.

After his fourth-place finish in Long Beach, Andretti’s best result driving the 179C chassis 02 came at the third round in Argentina, when he crossed the line in eighth position after a storming drive from 17th on the grid.

Giacomelli, on the other hand, found his groove with the Tipo 179C at the end of the year, as he’d done the previous year with the ‘skirted’ 179 (Giacomelli’s aforementioned pole position at Watkins Glen in 1980 was what prompted Andretti to choose Alfa Romeo from the number of seats he had open to him for 1981 season).

At the penultimate round at Montreal, Giacomelli drove chassis 02 from 15th on the grid to fourth, one place ahead of the newly crowned World Champion Nelson Piquet. Three weeks later, at the inaugural Caesars Palace Grand Prix in Las Vegas, the Italian went one better, perfectly judging his tyre choice and driving impeccably to a deserved podium finish.

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