Stockinger’s good fortune keeps on stacking upBy Charles E. Buban
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Marlon Stockinger is getting even closer to his dream of becoming a Formula One driver.
The 21-year-old member of the newly formed Lotus Formula 1 Junior Team will fly back to the United Kingdom this week to have a seat fitting ahead of his 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series stint.
A key point of entry into Formula 1 race, Stockinger will be behind the wheel of a single-seat race car, which boasts the latest aerodynamic and technical advances of its big brother, the Formula 1 car (this season, the car is powered by an all-new 530 horsepower, 3.4-liter V8 engine developed by Zytek Engineering).
“I’m very excited to be making the move up to Formula Renault 3.5 Series. I am very proud to be competing in one of the most prestigious and high-profile single-seater championships in the world,” he said.
Over the years, Formula Renault 3.5 has proven its credentials for producing future stars of Formula 1 like Lotus Renault GP driver Robert Kubica, who won the title in 2005; reigning FIA Formula One World champion Sebastian Vettel, who raised in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2006 and 2007; as well as two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, who was a title winner during the category’s previous guise as Euro Open MoviStar by Nissan.
Training and experience The Formula 1-styled car should help Stockinger break into the Formula 1 scene and a chance to make history as the third Southeast Asian driver to make it to the world’s premiere motorsport (after Thailand’s Prince Birabongse Bhanuban in 1950 and Malaysia’s Alex Yoong in 2001).
Stockinger was one of the seven that Lotus Formula 1 will be supporting in terms of driving skills, physical fitness, health and nutrition, social and mental development, business ethics and principals, as well as PR training.
But before he could begin his stint in the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series this April 6 in Monza, Italy, Stockinger informed that he booked a track day at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France, where the Globe Tattoo brand ambassador is set to complete 350 kilometers in a Formula 1 car with four sets of new F1 tires.
This should give Stockinger a firsthand experience driving an F1 car as well as to prepare himself to top the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
As explained by Lotus Formula 1 team principal Eric Boullier, the seven chosen Junior Team members will undergo in-depth and highly beneficial training regime which should encourage the drivers to develop and perform at their very best.
“Motorsport can be very daunting for young drivers, particularly everything that occurs away from the track, so we hope to give our drivers the very best preparation possible for their future careers,” he said in a statement.
Experienced race champ
Before his inclusion in the Lotus Formula 1 Junior Team, Stockinger was a race winner in the 2012 GP3 Series (Monaco) as well as 2010 Formula Renault UK (Croft Circuit, North Yorkshire). At age 15, he became the youngest double champion by winning the 2006 Asian Karting Championship and the Philippine Rotax Max Championship. In 2008, he became a winner in the Formula BMW Pacific Scholarship and made his shift from karting to open-wheel racing.
It would take Vettel 22 more GP races before he would win his first (Italy) in 2008 and three more years to finally raise his first World Championship trophy (2010 for Red Bull Racing team).
To help generate support for Stockinger, an actual F1 car will be flown in Manila for a Lotus F1 Roadshow on May 3-5.