Fernando Alonso had to run completely unbranded for his first run with Aston Martin F1 at the 2022 Abu Dhabi F1 test.
F1 post-season testing has a unique dual effect as it concludes the current season and provides a preview of next year. Especially when drivers change teams, it’s especially fun when they show up in new cars and colors.
Fernando Alonso has done it in extreme fashion. Aston Martin had to run it completely off the brand.
It was also seen when Fernando Alonso made his McLaren debut after the 2006 season, but it is a very rare sight.
Earlier this year the Haas F1 team removed the car from their livery, but for a completely different reason. Uralkali’s sponsorship dropped on the final day of testing in Barcelona.
But unlike the Haas decision, Fernando Alonso’s AMR22 was a result of the oddity of the early team transfer rules.
Fernando Alonso drove Aston Martin’s 2022 car during the first five hours of the Abu Dhabi test on Tuesday before officially joining the team in 2023. And the first thing anyone noticed when Alonso showed up on track was that the AMR22 was shown in a purely basic color scheme, without the sponsor logos or even the small Union Jack that usually adorns the front of the nose.
The car showed only a small Pirelli sticker, an Aston Martin badge and the car number of Fernando Alonso, who himself was wearing a black racing suit and a neutral crash helmet design.
This is because Fernando Alonso is allowed to drive for Aston Martin, but is still under contract with the Alpine F1 team, so he is not allowed to promote competing brands or their sponsors.
It’s a shame for the brand, considering it would be a nice marketing boost to see pictures of Fernando Alonso in an Aston Martin circulating before the car’s launch and pre-season testing.
“It’s a good point of view,” said Pedro de la Rosa, Aston Martin ambassador and long-time friend of Fernando Alonso.
“Unfortunately yes. But in the coming years there will be many photos of Fernando. I hope it is a fully branded car!”
“Whatever it is, I think it’s very good to have Fernando in the car. , it’s great to start working today on what the team might want in the future.”
“So, all in all, I think it’s a win-win situation, and I’m sure it will be a big surprise when we finally get the brand car.”
Pedro de la Rosa argues: not showing Alonso on behalf of sponsors is a small price to pay for the lead in 2023.
However, having to remove the sticker from the entire car is actually a very extreme exposure.
Drivers must meet certain conditions in order to be released early to test another team, and this particular test saw the usual variations.
Ironically, given how bitter his departure from Alpine F1 was, the cleanest appearance was McLaren’s Oscar Piastri. He is now fully contracted to McLaren so could be fully decked out in team gear for his first official day in the MCL36 in 2022.
Other drivers didn’t have quite the same freedom or didn’t have enough resources.
At the Haas F1 Team, Nico Hulkenberg was relieved of his duties as an Aston Martin reserve driver and was wearing the team’s racing suit, but was driving wearing only a plain white crash helmet.
Still officially a Mercedes driver, Nick de Vries made his AlphaTauri debut wearing a front racing suit. He did not respond to the media at the end of the day either.
Pierre Gasly wore plain overalls despite having an Alpine sponsor sticker on his helmet. The answer is… I don’t know. After that, Pierre Gasly said that he was basically an Alpine driver, except for the final contract with Red Bull and Alpha Tauri, without a clear explanation.
Category: F1 / Fernando Alonso / aston martin