Scott Dixon 'would be a F1 world champion', says ex Ferrari, McLaren driver
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Anyone in doubt over how good Kiwi Scott Dixon still is would've likely eaten their words after seeing him blitz the IndyCar Series' returning race meeting in Texas at the beginning of the month.
The five-time IndyCar Champion now finds himself staring down the barrel of potentially becoming the greatest racer of all time in America's open-wheel history ... still capable of victories and championship contention even against a younger competition.
But, in an alternate universe, things could have been very different for Dixon. He tested in Formula 1 with Williams, and appeared to be right in the mix to become the first New Zealander in decades to give the series a crack. And, in the eyes of some, it was a lost opportunity.
Former Formula 1 driver Stefan Johansson was a recent guest on Formula 1's official podcast, Beyond The Grid. The podcast touched on his history in the series, where he raced for McLaren and Ferrari among other racing teams through the early '80s and '90s.
But, he was also asked about which driver he thought was world champion material, but unfortunately fell through the sport's cracks. And his answer was Scott Dixon — a driver he now manages.
“It was just timing. When he won the championship the first time [in 2003], we had the test with Williams, which went very well. And we were due to have a test with Ferrari as well, we had some meetings with [then Ferrari team boss] Jean Todt. They wanted to do a test as well," he said.
"But with Williams, BMW was the main partner and they didn’t want a rookie in the car, basically. So at the time we managed to leverage that in getting a really, really, really good deal from Chip [Ganassi] for IndyCar, so we ended up in IndyCar, and that’s where the career ended up going.
“I think he would have been world champion. In F1 you have to be in the right car at the right time. Timing is so crucial in F1… but if all the stars had lined up, no question he would be world champion. I think he’s absolutely one of the best in history of any category, in my opinion.”
It's not the first time the Formula 1 paddock has acknowledged Dixon's achievements and 'what could have been'. Earlier this year Formula 1 commentator Will Buxton put together a list of the 20 best drivers to have never made it to Formula 1; placing Dixon fifth behind Sebastian Loeb, Jeff Gordon, Dario Franchitti, and Tom Kristensen.