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Dean Stoneman, Carlin - Q&A

20 November 2013

Dean Stoneman will make his return to Formula Renault 3.5 this week following a promising showing at the GP3 finale in Abu Dhabi, where he picked up a podium finish on his first weekend in single-seaters since 2010.

Stoneman, who had been due to compete in FR3.5 back in 2011 before his career was put on hold after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, will join Carlin for three days of testing in Spain and spoke about his excitement, his expectations and his thoughts about what lies ahead...


Q:
First of all, what are your thoughts on the FR3.5 car and series?

Dean Stoneman:
I drove the old car at the end of 2010 in preparation for my test in the F1 car and it was good preparation. After being out of single seaters for over three years, I thought it would be a good idea to test a FR3.5 car again. I drove in the GP3 finale earlier this month and that went well but there are different avenues for me to look at for 2014 and one of them is FR3.5.

Q:
You were due to race in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2011 before you had to pull out due to illness, so do you feel there is some unfinished business or anything to prove?

Dean Stoneman:
After my GP3 weekend I've got nothing to prove as such, I've shown what I can do. The next few days are going to be about having a bit of fun, getting a bit more seat time having been out for so long and getting my fitness back. I want to enjoy myself; I haven't got anything to prove to anyone. In terms of speed I'm just going to go out and do the best job I can, we'll see how we get on. Really it's all about having fun, if you're not enjoying it what's the point. I love motorsport, that's why I'm here.

Q:
Were you surprised by your pace and progress in Abu Dhabi considering your lack of preparation?

Dean Stoneman:
There wasn't one minute I didn't think I could get on the podium. Before the race my dad was saying to me “just get in the top ten and it's a good job done” and then I went out there and finished sixth and second. I wasn't surprised that I had the pace but considering I had never even done a practice start in the GP3 car before I was pretty pleased. At the end of the day it's just about getting on with it. When you're under pressure that's the best time to show what you're good at.

Q:
Going back to the FR3.5 car now, have you ever driven at Motorland before?

Dean Stoneman:
I did actually do a test there at the end of 2011 in a FR3.5 car, six weeks after a seven hour operation. It was way too soon. Even now looking back it was obviously a bit silly doing the test, but we'd paid the deposit to the team for the previous season and they still had the money so we thought we'd do it. But it was way too soon for me coming back.

Q:
What do you think of the circuit?

Dean Stoneman:
The track and the facilities are pretty good; it's just a pity it's in the middle of nowhere! It's good for testing on; good straights and it's pretty wide so the drivers don't tend to get in each other's way. Hopefully there's no fog this time, last time I was there we had thick fog and we were waiting for hour for the track to clear! I heard it snowed at the last test too!

Q:
What are you hoping to get out of this week's test?

Dean Stoneman:
At the end of the day obviously I'd like to be quickest. But in terms of what championship I do next year, it depends what gets offered to me and how much I enjoy each car. Unfortunately everything I've done has been last minute, sometimes even a week before the race or season. It would be nice to settle something before Christmas which would allow me to prepare fully for next season. The main thing for me though is to enjoy being back in a single seater again. I hope together we can have some fun this week.


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