Dixon tested in France on Friday

Updated: March 29, 2004, 11:20 AM ET
Reuters

Scott Dixon
Dixon
LONDON -- Williams gave Indy Racing League champion Scott Dixon a first taste of Formula One on Friday in a test that could boost his hopes of driving for the team next year.

The BMW-powered team need to find a replacement for Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, who is joining McLaren in 2005, and possibly Ralf Schumacher as well.

"It is very different and very cool," the New Zealander told the Autosport Web site after lapping in this year's FW26 at the Le Castellet circuit in the south of France.

"Especially in the first few laps the car is so different to what I'm used to.

"It is just overwhelming the way it stops. I think the brakes are probably 100 times better and the car handles a lot better," added Dixon, more used to driving on ovals in the U.S.-based series, though he also competed on roads and streets in Champ Cars.

Although Friday's test was billed as a simple familiarization exercise, with a more meaningful session scheduled for Spain's Barcelona circuit early next month, Dixon's times stood up well to those of Ralf Schumacher.

"The big thing was getting used to the speed on the car on these tires," he said. "It is a strange feeling ... the car is very much on the edge but most of the time is very nimble."

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