British young guns to go head-to-head for Williams F1 test drive
Two of Britain’s best young talents will go wheel-to-wheel for the opportunity of a lifetime at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain this weekend (18/19 September) as they bid to win the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship and a prize test drive with the Williams F1 team.
20-year-old Dean Stoneman from Southampton and 19-year-old Jolyon Palmer from Southwater in Sussex are the two outstanding title contenders in Formula Two, an international single seater series designed to provide rising stars with a cost-effective route into top level motorsport.
The FIA-regulated F2 championship has a close association with Williams F1, who will offer a full day’s test in their 2010 FW32 challenger to the eventual F2 champion. The Formula Two car was also designed by a six-man team from Williams, led by their legendary Director of Engineering Patrick Head.
Stoneman and Palmer have proved the class of the field in 2010, and the pair have enjoyed a fierce season-long battle which has seen the championship lead change several times during the opening 16 races. Stoneman holds the advantage going into the final two encounters following a supreme double victory in the previous round at Oschersleben in Germany. The 20-year-old also recorded victories during F2’s inaugural visit to Marrakech, Morocco in May, along with race wins in Belgium, Portugal and his home circuit Brands Hatch in July.
However Stoneman still faces formidable competition from Palmer, who is bidding to become the first British F2 champion since his father - ex-F1 driver and BBC commentator Jonathan – who took the European F2 title in 1983.
Palmer has been on winning form from the start of the 2010 season, as the Nottingham University student scored a commanding victory in the season opener at Silverstone before notching up a further four wins – including a double triumph at the famous Monza Grand Prix circuit in May.
Dean Stoneman said: “Going from the beginning of the year, I didn’t expect to be as fast as I have been. I was hoping obviously to do the best I could, which was to finish in the top three, but fighting for the championship has been really good and hopefully I can go into the first race and secure the title.”
Jolyon Palmer added: “Being second I’ve nothing to lose really; I’ve got no pressure on me. I know the Valencia track quite well and I was quick in the winter test there last year so I’m feeling confident. It’s been an amazing season, and whatever happens for me it’s been the best year of my career. Still there’s a bit more to be pushed out of it, and hopefully I can get the prize at the end.”
The winning driver will follow in the footsteps of 2009 champion Andy Soucek, who beat Force India and McLaren reserve drivers Paul di Resta and Gary Paffett to top the timesheets during his prize test for the Williams F1 team last December, before securing a reserve driver role with the Virgin F1 team.
In addition to a Formula One rookie test drive for the overall champion, the top three finishers in this year’s F2 title showdown will qualify for FIA Superlicenses, which are necessary to test or compete in Formula One.