There’s a new ‘MS’ in the world of Formula racing
Filipino-Swiss racer Marlon Stockinger recently made news while sitting behind the wheel of the Lotus Formula One car as local race fans witnessed the first-ever live action Formula One demo run with an event dubbed as the “Manila Speed Show.”
The two-day event kicked off on an early Saturday morning last May 4 at the Quirino Grandstand with a drive around the block that started off at the symbolic Kilometer Zero across the Rizal Monument where he made some passes from Roxas Boulevard and made his way around the block at Luneta Park and even used his Formula One car for some “donut” maneuvers at Parade Avenue in front of the historic grandstand. In the afternoon until the following Sunday, he made several scheduled passes around the block of SM Mall of Asia, much to the delight of the race fans and visitors eager to see the good-looking celebrity driver.
Presented by Globe Tattoo, its organizers set up a mini car show on the parking grounds of SM Mall of Asia with a plethora of custom and classic cars as an added attraction to the F1 car demo runs. Aside from the F1 car run, several VIPs were treated to a tandem ride in a two-seater Formula car. Among them were Globe Telecom CEO and president Ernest Cu and Jaka president Katrina Ponce Enrile while F1 tours specialist William Herrera of Red Rock Travel also won a seat in this once-in-a-lifetime chance from a raffle draw. Race fans who had signed up early in the event were given a chance to experience a day in the life of an F1 pit crew with the event’s simulated pit stop challenge.
While the local motor sports community hails this event as a celebration on the emergence of the Filipino talent in the world stage of motoring, the road to Formula One racing is still a long and precarious and often disappointing road.
Peparation for the future
“Motorsport can be very daunting for young drivers, particularly everything that occurs away from the track,” said Lotus F1 Team principal Eric Boullier. “We hope to give our drivers the very best preparation possible for their future careers.” he added. When asked by members of the media if Stockinger has set a target date for a shot in Formula One, Boullier said it is still too early and not strategically beneficial to set a timeline for the young 22-year-old Stockinger, who was handpicked by the Lotus F1 Team to be part of a group of seven elite junior drivers to train and compete in the world-class sport. But when pressed on, he hinted the year 2015 might be a “possibility.”
Stockinger made waves when he first entered Karting competitions in Europe as a teenager. Last April, he made his debut at the prestigious 2013 World Series by Renault. This series is considered a gateway for gifted drivers aspiring to take a seat in Formula One racing. His past career highlights before joining the Renault series include: Formula BMW Pacific Scholarship Winner in 2008, Philippine Rotax Max Champion from 2004 to 2007 and Asian Karting Champion in 2006. In the 2012 GP3 series, he took his first win at Monaco while setting the fastest lap of the race.
After the Manila Speed Show, Stockinger will return to Europe to resume the Formula Renault 3.5 series campaign in Monte Carlo, with several races all over Europe until the season ends in October. When asked if he can pick one name he wishes to race alongside with if he makes it to F1 racing, he chose current Lotus F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen.
The Lotus F1 Team
The Lotus F1 Team, formerly known as the Renault team, first began racing under the Lotus banner in the 2012 F1 season, where it placed fourth in the Constructors’ Championship. But its F1 history dates back to the early 1980s. Racing legend Michael Schumacher won the Drivers’ Championship under the team in 1994 and 1995, while Fernando Alonso did likewise in 2005 and 2006. The team bagged the top Constructors’ honors in both 1995 and 2006.
Stockinger, son of Swiss businessman and racing aficionado Tom and his Filipina mother Egin San Pedro, is being touted as the country’s biggest chance of a Filipino driver landing a seat in the pinnacle of motoring racing—the Formula One. Although he has a distinct Eurasian feature, he speaks very fluent Tagalong. He grew up in the Malate, Manila, until he went to Europe to pursue his racing career. His initials “MS” are the same as 7-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, who retired from Formula One racing last year. Schumacher won the Drivers’ Championship under the team in 1994 and 1995. Another world champion, Fernando Alonso, won under this team in 2005 and 2006. The Lotus F1 team also bagged the Constructors’ title in both 1995 and 2006.
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