Snapshot, 1972: Trying times for Alfa and De Adamich at Sebring

It’s March 1972, and during practice for the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida, Andrea de Adamich and the rest of his Autodelta team are slowly realising how difficult it’s going to be for Alfa Romeo to beat Ferrari’s new and devastatingly fast 312PB…

The bespectacled Italian driver Andrea de Adamich has just returned to the Sebring pit lane after several laps in the new Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT 3. The prototype was designed to accommodate a new twelve-cylinder but alas, the engine isn’t ready yet so last year’s V8 has been dropped into the lightweight tubular chassis instead. While the car showed early promise in pre-season testing and reportedly feels pretty good from behind the wheel, Alfa’s factory outfit Autodelta hadn’t quite anticipated just how sorted the Ferrari 312PB would be. The Scuderia practically sacrificed last season to get the car right and it’s also hired an elite squad of drivers to get the most out of it. In the feature race here at Sebring, De Adamich and his co-driver Nanni Galli will retire while the best-placed Alfa will be Nino Vaccarella and Toine Hezemans, who’ll finish on the podium but a shocking 26 laps behind the winning Ferrari of Mario Andretti and Jacky Ickx. And it’s a result that poised to repeat itself time and again throughout the coming season. It won’t be until 1974 when Autodelta’s perseverance will be rewarded. 

Photo: GP Library via Getty Images