The Italian brand's re-entry to the US might be about to kick up a gear.

The company is about to embark on its first Formula 1 season in over 30 years – albeit as a sponsor – but now a different single seater championship could be on the horizon for Alfa Romeo.

Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has caused a bit of a stir recently by hinting that Alfa Romeo's re-entry into the US market could be complimented by an IndyCar engine programme. Currently just Chevrolet (with an Ilmor-built engine) and Honda (with a HPD-built engine) compete in America's top open-wheel series.

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In fact, there hasn't been a third engine manufacturer in the series since Lotus's abysmal attempt back in 2012. The Judd-built engines were so poor that by the Indy 500 in May of that year the firm had lost three of its four customers, and the remaining customer team was forced to pull off track for being too slow.

Speaking at the Detroit motor show recently, Marchionne was positive about the prospect of Alfa Romeo heading to IndyCar, telling the German outlet Motorsport Total: 'Why not Alfa Romeo and IndyCar? We think about it.'

Of course, this isn't the first time the brand has been linked with IndyCar. Back in 2014 Ralph Gilles and Beth Paretta (SRT CEO and SRT's motorsports boss respectively) were keen to take one of FCA's brand into IndyCar, but since their moves to elsewhere in the company – or in Paretta's case, elsewhere in the industry – the speculation has died down.

Jay Frye, IndyCar's president of competition was pleased to hear Marchionne's comments, but admitted the introduction of a third OEM was some way off. 'It's encouraging to us to have an influential person mention IndyCar,' Frye told Racer. 'We've spoken with a lot of prospects, and there's been great interest, even with those who say the timing is off because they've just launched a program elsewhere. And there's been follow-up meetings when we've been asked to come back, which is a great sign, but is anything imminent? No.'

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