Red Bull sign Dean Stoneman and Callum Ilott

Dean Stoneman
Dean Stoneman hopes to follow in the tracks of previous graduates of the Red Bull academy like Sebastian Vettel

British drivers Dean Stoneman and Callum Ilott have signed for Red Bull's junior programme for next season.

Stoneman, who has worked as a test driver for Williams in Formula 1, will compete in Formula Renault 3.5.

The Southampton-based 24-year-old was out of action for two years as he battled testicular cancer, but returned to competitive racing in 2013.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old Ilott will move from karting to race in the European Formula 3 championship.

Ilott, who is from Hertford, is the reigning KF European karting champion.

"Being in the team is a privilege," said Ilott. "Last season was very good for me, so I was hoping for a good start in cars, but I didn't imagine I would get this opportunity.

"The step up is quite something. I have a lot to learn. For this year I want to make a good impression, show my speed early and keep improving."

Stoneman battles back from cancer

Stoneman won the Formula 2 title in 2010 and after returning from his illness, finished as runner-up in last year's GP3 Series.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Jean-Eric Vergne, Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi have all come through Red Bull's academy programme to make it to F1.

"This has been one of my life goals and it is fantastic to be given the chance," said Stoneman.

"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. I obviously have all the support I need and we have a great build-up planned before the start of the season."