Stoneman wins Williams F1 test drive
British driver Dean Stoneman has clinched the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship in Valencia, Spain today (Saturday 18 September) to secure a prize test drive with the Williams Formula One team.
The 20-year-old from Southampton emerged triumphant from a season-long battle with fellow countryman Jolyon Palmer to be crowned the first British F2 title winner since Formula Two Series Director Jonathan Palmer lifted the European Championship trophy in 1983.
As his prize for securing the Formula Two crown, Stoneman will earn a full test with the Williams F1 team. He will also qualify for an FIA Superlicense, required to compete in Formula One Grands Prix.
Stoneman secured the honors in the opening race at this weekend’s Valencian season finale, cruising home to a comfortable ninth place finish to build up an unassailable 27 point lead over his rival Palmer, who finished seventh.
Dean Stoneman said: “It’s only just starting to settle in really. Getting into Formula One has always been my dream, and this just brings me one step closer to that. It’s hard to know what to expect but it’s obviously a fantastic opportunity to be testing a Williams Formula One car, so hopefully I can prove myself. I’m just going to go there and do what I do best: get in the car and drive as fast as I can!”
2010 marks Stoneman’s first season in the FIA Formula Two Championship and the British racer has shone amongst a international field of drivers, securing victories during F2’s inaugural visit to Marrakech, Morocco and his home circuit Brands Hatch in July. The newly-crowned champion has also taken race wins in Belgium, Portugal and a sensational double victory in the penultimate round at Oschersleben, Germany earlier this month.
Stoneman continued: “I've got to say well done to Jolyon, as throughout the season we've had some fantastic races, and thank you to F2 Series Director Jonathan Palmer for putting together such a brilliant championship for myself and the other competitors. And also thank you to my father, who has backed me all the way.”
Jonathan Palmer, Chief Executive of MotorSport Vision, said: "Dean has done a superb job this season and is certainly the worthy champion of the 2010 FIA F2 Championship. He is an outstanding talent, being extremely quick, a tough fighter, and very consistent. I am very confident Dean will prove the high standard of competition in F2 by performing impressively when he has his Williams F1 test drive. The fact that the affordable, level playing field of F2 has given Dean the opportunity to highlight his talent, without having a big budget, will undoubtedly inspire others."
Stoneman gained a reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting young prospects after a superb breakthrough year in the 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship, where he took three wins, nine podiums and three pole positions - a superior record than Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton's debut season in the same formula.
The new 2010 Formula Two champion will be following in the footsteps of 2009 title holder Spain’s Andy Soucek, who secured a reserve driver role with the Virgin F1 team after setting the pace in his prize test drive at Jerez in Spain last December.