The unbranded Aston brought back memories of the 2002 Jaguar F1 test for Alonso

Ahead of his move to Aston Martin for 2023, Alonso was allowed to complete a first run with the team earlier this week in the post-season test at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Alonso completed 97 laps in the Aston Martin AMR22 car, and said he was now “100-plus” per cent happy with his decision to leave Alpine for the British team after the first run-out.

But the car had to test without any sponsors due to Alonso’s existing deal with Alpine, meaning it was stripped back to its base green livery, featuring only decals for Aston Martin, Pirelli and the FIA. Alonso also had to wear black overalls and a dazzling camouflage helmet design for the day.

When Alonso first entered the garage with Aston Martin ambassador and former grand prix driver Pedro de la Rosa on Tuesday morning, both realized it was similar to when he tested for Jaguar in 2002.

“We went into the garage together this morning, and we saw the green car,” Alonso said when asked by Motorsport.com about the connection.

“We both said: ‘This is exactly like Jaguar in 2002!’ But yeah, it’s a completely different project for sure.

Fernando Alonso, Jaguar R3

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Alonso was working as Renault’s test driver in 2002 when he was drafted by then Jaguar F1 boss Niki Lauda to complete a test in the R3 car at Silverstone at the end of May.

The season saw de la Rosa race for Jaguar alongside Eddie Irvine, but the team struggled for form, scoring just eight points and finishing seventh in the standings, its form improved after the introduction of a B-spec mid-year car.

“This morning when Fernando arrived, we were looking at the car without a brand, and I joked with him because in 2002, we tested with Jaguar,” de la Rosa recalled in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

“I raced there. They bring Fernando in to say how fast this car is, because Niki thinks that myself and Eddie are just having fun out there! The car has no brand, green, he was completely white in general, now he has black.

“I looked at him and he said do you remember? And 20 years later, it’s exactly the same scenario: a green car, in unbranded overalls.

During his 2002 test, Alonso was linked with a potential move to Jaguar in the Spanish media, and although he set the third fastest test time at Silverstone, he maintained that “He was only thinking about Renault” for the future.

Renault would eventually hand Alonso a race seat for 2003, when he became the youngest race winner in F1 history before winning championships with the French manufacturer in 2005 and 2006.

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