Five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon had the talent and ability to become a Formula 1 World Champion, according to the kiwi’s manager Stefan Johansson.
With 47 victories to his name, Dixon is the third most successful driver in CHAMP CAR/IndyCar history and is often heralded as a modern A.J. Foyt such is his potential.
Alongside his IndyCar success, the 39-year-old has also had substantial success in Sports Car racing, claiming three victories at the hallowed 24 Hours of Daytona and a GTE podium at Le Mans back in 2016.
Dixon has once piloted an F1 car after securing a test drive with Williams-BMW back in 2004 at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France and was instantly on the pace, setting lap times that challenged the team’s full-time driver Ralf Schumacher.
But a second test plagued by mechanical issues and a push by German manufacturer BMW to stick with Schumacher led to Dixon not being retained by the team and put an abrupt end to his F1 career.
But speaking on that particular test, ex-Formula 1 racer and current manager of Dixon, Johansson admits Williams-BMW should have taken the risk on signing the rookie and suggests the sport missed out on a future world champion.
“I think he would have been World Champion,” Johansson said on the Beyond The Grid podcast.
“Timing is so crucial in F1 and there are maybe two or three drivers at most who have the luxury of deciding which team they want to go with at whatever certain time.
“But if all the stars had lined up, he would have no question have been World Champion, I think he is absolutely one of the best in history of any category in my opinion.
“It was just timing, so when he won the championship the first time, we had the test with Williams-BMW and it went very well.”
Johansson also revealed Dixon had snared the opportunity to test with the illustrious Scuderia Ferrari team the following season.
But after talks were hosed down, Dixon was able to ink a deal with Chip Ganassi Racing with whom he continues to race for in IndyCar.
“We were due to have a test with Ferrari as well, had some meetings with Jean Todt, they wanted to do the test as well, but at the same time he had won the year with Ganassi, then with Williams, BMW was obviously the main partner and they didn’t want a rookie in the car,” Johansson added.
“So, at the time we managed to leverage that in getting a really, really good deal from Chip for IndyCar, so we kind of ended up in IndyCar and that’s just where the career ended up going.”
In 2013, Autosport magazine named Dixon one of the 50 greatest drivers to have never raced in Formula One.
Following a dominant victory at Texas Motor Speedway, Dixon leads the 2020 NTT IndyCar standings heading into the second round which will be staged around the Indianapolis road course for the GMR Grand Prix on July 4.