Kiwi Scott Dixon is preparing to enter his 19th season of IndyCar Series competition, with the 2021 championship kicking off next month with the Honda Indy Grand Prix in Alabama on April 18.
Despite sealing a sixth series title last year, at 40 years of age Dixon continues to field questions about whether retirement from the series is on his radar. Speaking to Motorsport Week, he admitted that he hasn’t got a time scale on his retirement prospects.
“I don’t think you can ever really put a time scale on it or an age or anything like that. I think everybody is pretty unique and pretty different. If anything, I think we’ve seen the longevity, not just in our sport but across sports in general,” he said.
Although there’s plenty of discussion in American motorsport about the recent reported mass departure of popular established drivers in NASCAR and to a lesser extent IndyCar, both sports continue to have a higher than average age window where older drivers can continue to be competitive.
One of Dixon’s key rivals, Will Power, is 40 years of age. Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato is 44, Ryan Hunter-Reay is 40, Ed Carpenter is 40, and Sebastien Bourdais is 42. Dixon’s close friend Tony Kanaan, who has a part-time schedule lined up for 2021 as he prepares to retire at the end of the season, is 46.
The oldest driver in Formula 1 is Kimi Raikkonen at 41, with the returning Fernando Alonso not far behind on 39. But they’re both relatively alone on the age front, with Sebastian Vettel (33-years-old), Sergio Perez (31), Daniel Ricciardo (31), and Lewis Hamilton (36), among the few drivers in the 30s.
For Dixon, his love of the sport has not wavered in recent years, thanks to the level of competition on the grid and his strong relationship with Chip Ganassi Racing.
“[IndyCar is] constantly changing, whether it’s the track venues to the style of the car or updates like the aeroscreen for safety and things like that that do change the challenge of what we have at hand for a driver or for the engineering group, as well,” he added.
“I love the sport more than anything at the moment. I feel very lucky. I feel very privileged to be able to do what I do and especially with the group of people that I get to work with.
“Probably the most inspiring part of it is when you walk through the doors at Chip Ganassi Racing, the competition level or the competitiveness that you feel in that environment, it’s pretty intense. I think that’s definitely one that drives me.
“I don’t know. I guess the short answer [on retirement] is, I have no idea.”