Red Bull has confirmed the signings of British drivers Dean Stoneman (pictured) and Callum Ilott to its junior team for the 2015 racing season.
Following Carlos Sainz Jr’s move up to Formula 1 with Toro Rosso for 2015 and GP3 champion Alex Lynn’s move away to Williams, Stoneman and Ilott have been drafted in as replacements and will receive backing from the energy drink brand for the next twelve months.
Stoneman, 24, broke onto the racing scene back in 2010 by winning the now-defunct FIA Formula 2 championship, earning himself a Formula 1 test with Williams.
However, his motorsport hopes were put on hold when he diagnosed with testicular cancer, preventing him from moving up to Formula Renault 3.5 where he would have been Daniel Ricciardo’s teammate.
After lengthy treatment, Stoneman returned to racing in the British Porsche Carerra Cup and finished fifth in the 2013 championship before racing in the final GP3 round of the season in Abu Dhabi.
For 2014, Stoneman stayed in GP3 with Marussia Manor before moving to Koiranen for the final four races of the year. With five wins, the Briton finished as runner-up to former Red Bull junior Lynn.
Now, he will move across to Formula Renault 3.5 for the 2015 season with DAMS, and was delighted to have finally announced the news.
“To be part of the Red Bull Junior Team has been one of my life goals and it is fantastic to be given the chance,” Stoneman said.
“You just have to look at the names that have gone before to see that only the best drivers get into the programme. I’m thrilled about the year ahead, to be in the DAMS team in World Series is a perfect opportunity.”
16-year-old Callum Ilott will also enjoy Red Bull backing for the new season following his European karting championship victory in 2014. He will move up to the FIA F3 European Championship for his first season in single-seaters, having spent some time out in New Zealand over the past few months racing in the Toyota Winter Series.
“Being in the Red Bull Junior Team is a privilege,” Ilott said. “You just have to look at the history of the drivers that have gone before.
“Last season was very good for me so I was hoping for a good start in cars but I didn’t imagine that I would get this opportunity. I want to make a good impression this year, show my speed early and keep improving.”
Stoneman and Ilott will join Pierre Gasly on the junior programme for 2015, with the Frenchman enjoying his place with the team for a second year after finishing second in last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 championship. Gasly will race in GP2 this year for DAMS alongside Alex Lynn.