Carlo Chiti was an Italian racing car and engine designer who is best known for his long association with Alfa Romeo's racing department.
Carlo Chiti graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering at the University of Pisa, Chiti joined the Alfa Romeo's experimental department in 1952. His first job was to develop the Alfa Romeo 3000 CM sports car for the 1953 season. He stayed with Alfa Romeo until the competition department was closed down in the late 1950s and then, thanks to his friend Giotto Bizzarini, he found a job with Ferrari where he helped with the design of the World Championship-winning cars of 1958 and, in 1961, the famous Ferrari 156 Sharknose, with which Phil Hill won the championship.
Soon afterwards Chiti, Bizzarrini and several other top Ferrari executives left the team and established the ATS Formula 1 team. This soon ran out of money and in 1963 Chiti went into business with an Alfa Romeo dealer called Ludovico Chizzola to establish Autodelta in the village of Settimo Milanese.
Autodelta modified production cars for competition but Chiti eventually convinced Alfa Romeo to fund the development of a new flat-12 engine for sportscar racing. The programme began in 1967 with the Tipo 33 but it was not until 1975 that Alfa finally won the World Championship for Makes. The following year Alfa began supplying the engines to the Brabham F1 team while winning a second title in the World Championship of Makes.
The Brabham-Alfa Romeos were not very reliable but in 1978 Niki Lauda won the Swedish GP in the controversial Alfa Romeo-engined Brabham "fan car". This 'fan' was banned and the car won the Italian GP that year in a more conventional layout.
By 1979 Chiti had convinced Alfa Romeo that it should be building its own F1 cars and the prototype appeared at the Belgian GP that year, driven by Bruno Giacomelli. This was followed by the 179 with a new V12 engine and this car was sponsored in 1980 by Marlboro Italy for Giacomelli and Patrick Depailler. Giacomelli scored the team's first points in Argentina but later in the year Depailler was killed in a testing crash at Hockenheim. At the end of the year Giacomelli took pole position and led the US Grand Prix before the car retired. The team eventually concluded that it needed a new designer and hired Gerard Ducarouge and for 1982 he built the Alfa Romeo 182. But good results were short and at the end of that year chassis design was given over to Paolo Pavanello's Euroracing.
Chiti stayed with the team as head of engine design until the middle of 1984 when there was a reshuffle. Chiti departed soon afterwards to build turbocharged F1 engines for Minardi. Motori Moderni designed a V6 and this debuted in 1985 but there were no major results and in November 1987 Motori Moderni announced that it was pulling out of F1. During 1988 Chiti designed a new flat 12 engine for the new 3.5-litre normally-aspirated F1 regulations. This was eventually sold to Subaru who re-badged it for use in their brief entry into Formula One with the Coloni team in 1990. The program was a disaster and Chiti disappeared from the F1 scene. He died in July 1994.