Dean Stoneman says he supports the new Super Licence points system announced by the FIA and believes young drivers should build towards Formula 1 with seasons in small series to gain experience.
The Southampton-based driver has spent the past two years racing in the GP3 series and hopes to progress to a higher championship after finishing second in the drivers' standings last year.
In 2010, Stoneman was crowned FIA Formula 2 champion but after being diagnosed with testicular cancer in early 2011 it forced him to stop racing. After beating his illness, the 25-year-old returned in the GP3 series in 2013, where he made the podium in just his second race at Abu Dhabi, before a full campaign in 2014 yielded five wins – two more than champion Alex Lynn.
With two illness-free seasons under his belt, Stoneman is now assessing his options for the 2015 season while his ambition is still to make it into Formula 1.
“Last year was a great season thanks to the last two races of the year and I was fighting for the GP3 title up until the last qualifying session of 2014,” Stoneman told Crash.net
. “I looked at GP3 as a two-year plan and after beating cancer I wanted the first year to help me get the feeling back. I was happy with how it was all going and after swapping to the Koiranen GP team and jumping from nowhere to second, I proved I was fast.”
With a points system structure announced this month
to determine which drivers can qualify for an F1 Super Licence, the new format means Stoneman will need another season of racing to apply.
Despite this, Stoneman is supportive of the system and is sceptical as to whether 17 year-old Max Verstappen – who will graduate from F3 to F1 with Toro Rosso in 2015 – has “proven himself” at a high-enough level of motorsport as yet.
“I was talking to someone last year and he said, 'Formula 1 is a dream, the chances of making it are one in a million'. But look at Max Verstappen. He hasn't proved himself, yes he is quick, but still relatively unknown at the top level.
“It's not unfair because he is obviously good, but jumping so many levels in one go isn't right. He should be given an F1 contract but told to do a couple of years in GP3 or GP2 before graduating to build your way up.
“I think they should make young drivers do X, Y and Z to get there instead of saying Formula 3 to F1. You've got to work through the rankings.”
Stoneman is yet to confirm his plans for the 2015 season.