crankandpiston.com sits down for a chat with former FIA Formula 2 champion Dean Stoneman to discuss his recent comeback with in the Porsche Carrera Cup, the contract he once had with the Williams Formula 1 team, the enjoyment of racing powerboats, and how a diagnosis of testicular cancer in 2010 came close to ending his life.[Not a valid template]
Although only 23 years old, Dean Stoneman has been through more in his life than most of us ever will, or indeed will ever hope to. He has competed in Porsches, go-karts, myriad single-seater championships, taken a tentative shot at rallying, held a testing contract with former Formula 1 titans Williams Grand Prix, and even given power boating a try. In every discipline he has competed he has won, and even secured the hotly contested FIA Formula 2 crown in 2010. But in 2011, Dean Stoneman was diagnosed with Choriocarcinoma – a rare form of testicular cancer – and his dreams of motorsport grandeur came to an abrupt halt.
Three years later, Dean is suited and booted once again, sitting down for a quick chat with crankandpiston.com having dominated the opening round of the Radical Middle East Cup in Abu Dhabi with Dragon Racing. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the young Brit also broke the Radical lap record. During one of only two qualifying runs. At a circuit he has raced only once before. It has been a truly miraculous recovery, one that Dean – rather amusingly – is incredibly laid back about today.
“Yeah, it’s great to be back on-track and to be out there with the top people again”, Dean explains, rolling an empty glass of orange juice in his left hand. “It’s a shame there isn’t a little more competition: when I raced the Masters here in 2012, the grids were 20 or 30-strong, and that was a lot of fun. But I’d like to come out here again. You can have a laugh, there are some great races, and you can really enjoy yourself.”
Dean’s Middle East jaunt isn’t finished yet. In just a few weeks time he will test a GP3 single seater having signed a one-off deal with Koiranen GP for the series finale at Yas Marina, a support race for the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Performing on one of motorsport’s grandest stages would make anybody nervous, especially when the opposition includes recently signed Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat, son of two-time World Rally Champion, Carlos Sainz (Carlos Jr), reigning British Formula 3 champion Jack Harvey, and former McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Lewis Williamson. But a laidback Dean is happy to let his driving do the talking.
“I want to do [the GP3 finale] because I had something taken from me that I never got to complete”, Dean continues. “I mean, all I can do is do the best job I can: if I do well I do well, if I don’t I don’t. It’s not going to harm me. In fact, James Calado [F1 Force India reserve driver] tweeted earlier, after I announced my GP3 drive, that I was one of the toughest drivers he’d ever raced against!”
Dogged determination has followed Dean Stoneman throughout his career. In 2006, having made the jump from go-karts to cars, the Londoner joined the Formula Renault fold, taking victories in the 2.0, BARC, and 2.0 UK Winter Cup disciplines and going toe-to-toe with current Williams driver Valtteri Bottas among others (one of whom, James Littlejohn, Dean catches up with on-track at Yas).
“Formula Renault is the main stepping-stone from go-karts to cars: if you’re no good in Formula Renault, there’s no point spending thousands and thousands trying to get to the top”, he explains. “We figured Formula Renault was the best car for learning in rather than Formula Ford: the aerodynamics, the downforce, and the slicks and wings were major changes.”
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