There must be something in the water at the Brussels HQ of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA): first, rumours that Audi would enter Formula 1 refuse to die, then Renault returned to the arena it left in shame in 2009, now Alfa Romeo's return is all the rage.
All this against a background of mass withdrawals towards the end of the last decade: Honda departed the scene at end-2008 - leaving the project to Ross Brawn and his merry men, who promptly won both 2009 titles with Mercedes power - while BMW, Toyota and Renault exited in quick succession, although last-named remained as engine supplier. Jaguar had, of course, exited in 2004 after just five years in F1.
While most blamed the global economic crisis for their departures, resounding lacks of success and embarrassment surely played their parts: Toyota failed to win a single grand prix in nine years of trying; BMW's single victory was rather more fortuitous than fought-for. Renault was shamed by the 2008 Singapore GP crash scandal, with its only other win in three years being down to Fernando Alonso's mastery at Fuji.