If Renault had proved a disappointment to their corporate masters over the last couple of years, Alfa Romeo had even more so; the French team had at least won races and were clearly fast, while the Italians rarely looked like challenging the front runners. There had been much talk of Alfa Romeo winding up their F1 team over the winter, but in the end they settled for a restructuring: Carlo Chitti’s Euroracing team were handed the reins and given autonomy to run the team as they wished, with Alfa Romeo providing facilities, expertise and a new turbo engine for the brand-new 183T car designed by Gerard Ducarouge. Marlboro Italia remained on board as main sponsor, which meant continued employment for Andrea de Cesaris, who was joined by Mauro Baldi after his debut year with Arrows.
With a new car and engine, a top designer, a big budget and now hopefully less of the bureaucracy and politicking, the team would hope to finally fulfil their potential in 1983.
Arguably the most improved driver of 1982, de Cesaris had come in in leaps and bounds since his attempts to wreck a McLaren at every race in 1981. Pole in Long Beach and second on the grid in Detroit were followed by decent drives, though neither ultimately led to a result. De Cesaris might have Marlboro to thank for his seat but had showed a speed and maturity on occasion that suggested there could be great things to come from this young driver if he could sort out his wild streak.
Baldi’s first season in Formula One with Arrows was difficult to judge, given the team’s problems – particularly early on with the old car, no Patrese and no Surer. Once the Swiss driver returned, he was usually quicker than Baldi, but the Italian proved a reliable number two and a regular finisher, which is all a backmarker team can really expect from a rookie number two driver. The only question is whether he would be more than a simple “safe pair of hands” given the chance in a bigger team.