IndyCar legend Al Unser Jr could have moved to Formula One
Al Unser Jr. had the chance to become a Formula One driver, but turned down Bernie Ecclestone.
Al Unser Jr. in Formula One? Years ago, it wasn’t that far-fetched.
Maybe you’ve heard the story, maybe not, but Al Unser Jr. recalled the turn of events on WFNI, an Indianapolis radio station, while promoting this weekend’s vintage car event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Bernie (Ecclestone) called me,” he said of the 1985 exchange. “I don’t know how he got my home number, but he called me. I said, ‘Who?’ and ‘Really?’ and it was really him. He asked me to come and drive his car.”
Unser felt the need to say no.
“I told him thanks a lot but I haven’t done well at Indy and that’s where I want to be and that’s what I want to do,” he said.
Unser finally won the Indianapolis 500 in 1992, and that prompted a call from Frank Williams, who offered a December test at the Estoril circuit in Portugal.
“Ran five days straight with those guys,” Unser said. “That’s when the active (suspension) was just coming on. I didn’t get to drive it. Damon Hill was their test driver; (Riccardo) Patrese was at the test. We had a good test and all that kind of stuff.
“I went back to England after the test and said ‘I want to drive for you guys,’ and they said ‘We’re just as interested in you. We’ll contact you.’ And that was it.”
Unser is still waiting for that call. Seems he's done OK without it.
By Autoweek Staff
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