Toyota has no room for Dixon

Updated: May 7, 2004, 6:45 PM ET
Reuters

BARCELONA -- Toyota has ruled out any prospect of New Zealander Scott Dixon, the Indy Racing League champion, joining them in Formula One.

Dixon drives for the Toyota-powered Chip Ganassi team in the U.S. series but he recently tested for Williams, which is looking to replace Juan Pablo Montoya when the Colombian leaves for McLaren at the end of the year.

Asked at a Spanish Grand Prix news conference on Friday whether Toyota might also be interested in Dixon, senior team official John Howett said the door was shut.

"I think Scott Dixon is respected by Toyota because of his talent but really at this stage we have decided that we don't have room, to be honest, and I don't mean that unkindly, with the portfolio that we are developing," he said.

"So I don't think there is any chance of Scott coming to Toyota in Formula One."

Toyota has French driver Olivier Panis, at 37 the oldest driver in Formula One, and Brazil's Cristiano da Matta as its 2004 line-up.

But paddock speculation suggests that Williams' Ralf Schumacher is close to a deal for next season while McLaren's David Coulthard is also interested.

Toyota also has young Australian Ryan Briscoe sitting on the sideline in its driver development program.

"As a management team we are obviously looking at the future, the next two to three years," said Howett. "Clearly we are not satisfied where we are, we want to become a top team and challenge for the championship.

"We've made no decision on our driver line-up for next year... I don't foresee that we would do that really before the middle or after the middle of the season."