• GP Week

5 minutes with ... Dean Stoneman

Naoise Holohan
November 1, 2010
Dean Stoneman celebrates winning the F2 championship © Getty Images

Congratulations on becoming the 2010 F2 champion. How did the year go for you?
Well, at the beginning of the season we didn't expect to be doing Formula Two. We were heading for GP3 but it ended up being where we went, and at the end of the year it proved to be the correct route to go. It's been a great championship, we were a successful winner and it's been a good season.

What were the highlights of the year for you?
The best races must have been the two wins at Oschersleben. I started fifth on the grid and was leading by the first corner. It was nice to have two wins on the same weekend, that was my aim for the whole season, and I achieved that as well.

Last year's F2 champion Andy Soucek failed to get a race seat in F1 this year, amid the perception that F2 is a good 'value for money' series but lacks the overall talent to be a strong feeder series. What are your views on this?
Well at the beginning of the season we were going to do GP3, that was my main aim, but F2 was half the price, you get twice as much track time, and a lot more for your money - you get longer races, longer qualifying and a lot more practice. Then you get a Formula One test at the end if you win the championship.

Can you tell us about your preparations for the Abu Dhabi F1 test?
I'm sitting in my hotel looking out at the track at the moment. I've been to Abu Dhabi before but not to the track and it's an amazing experience to be sitting at a place that's as amazing as this - it's just fantastic. I'm racing the Radical just to learn the track, to see which way it goes and just have a bit of fun and an enjoyable week.

How much are you looking forward to the test?
It was the dream to drive a Formula One car when I was a young kid. You'd never think that it would come to this, but actually sitting here now being able to look towards driving an F1 car in the next four to five weeks is great.

What are your aims for it? Will you be looking at lap times or just hoping to get comfortable in the car? v I'm not too sure what the programme is or what they want me to do. I don't know if they want to do a race distance, I don't know if they want ten laps or 20 laps, I'm not too sure. All I'm going to do is go there and do the best job I can for them.

Have you had any interest from any F1 teams with regard to 2011?
We've had some contacts, but it's hard to go forward at the minute until we know where we stand with the Formula One test. After I've done the test we may have five teams wanting to sign me up, but it's hard at the minute until we know how quick I am.

Do you think F2 is a strong enough series to be able to jump straight into Formula One?
I would like to do GP2 next year. My main aim is to do the F1 test and next year go into GP2 and have a season in there and then go onto F1.

How close are you to meeting your budgetary target for a GP2 seat next year?
We've been talking to three teams, but we can only afford so much. This year we had to get the sponsors onboard to do F2 race-by-race. We can't go any further with the funding we've got, but we're trying to get the sponsorship and hopefully we do find some sponsorship for the beginning of next season.

There are five drivers challenging for the F1 crown this year, which one of them is your money on?
I reckon it's between [Sebastian] Vettel and Mark [Webber]. Mark's quite a calm driver and he seems to finish every race in the points whereas Sebastian is a very quick driver but he does make mistakes. I'd love to see Mark win the championship because he's been fighting hard for it and he deserves to be Formula One champion.