HANDSOME, articulate and obviously driven to succeed, Filipino-Swiss junior driver for the Lotus Formula 1 Team Marlon Stockinger is back in the Philippines after winning third in a race in Germany. The 23-year-old looker is part of the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 nine-series race, and now places eighth in the championship standing of the international racing event.
“I’m happy to have done well during the race, and will strive to maintain podium finishes as we continue the series and my journey to F1,” said Stockinger, who spoke with his fans as well as select ladies of the Lifestyle and Entertainment media on July 21 at the Seda Hotel in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
As a motor sports celebrity and the first Filipino Lotus F1 junior driver, Stockinger shared his passion for speed, his challenges and inspirations as a young racecar driver. Unafraid and open-minded, at an early age Stockinger has dreamt of becoming a race car driver since his first go-cart ride, and has now toured most of Europe as a bona fide racer.
“I started go-karting when I was really young, probably around seven years old. I was overwhelmed with the feeling. I felt a sense of independence, since as young kids we were always cared for by our parents or guardians. But in the racetrack no one told me to step on the break, to turn right or left, and it felt great. So as a kid I really felt free, with no one telling me what to do. I think it helped me to find out a lot things about myself,” Stockinger shared.
From go-karts to racecars, the now professional driver made his way into the racing scene by joining local and international events, which have all brought him closer to his ultimate goal.
“My dream to become an F1 racer is really close. The door is right there, wide open, and I just have to make sure to capitalize on what I can do now. The important thing is the results, or the wins in the racetrack, and the support I get from my countrymen and from different business sectors. And now, all the pieces are coming together—with our business partnership with Globe, as well as the others. It will happen one day, sooner than later,” the young driver assured.
Early on, Stockinger has always been into sports. He used to play for a basketball team, but soon realized that his hopes of becoming a pro would end after his last growth spurt. He was also part his school’s football team, but as soon as he felt the thrill of a racetrack, he fell in love with fast cars, and everything else was forgotten.
“When you are in the race track, you feel a complete rush. There are a lot of emotions going on, and you have a certain time where you deal with your mind while waiting for the race to start. You experience a lot of senses working—you hear the sounds, the vibrations, the heat, and the competitive spirits of your opponents. It’s a really unique experience,” he described.
However, getting to where he is now wasn’t easy for the young celebrity. He began touring the world to join races when he was just 17, and found himself initially missing home. But he was quick to overcome these challenges as a confident and determined young man.
“The challenge for me was to leave home at a really young age. There was also some sort of cultural difference when I moved to Europe. I guess it’s the same for anyone who is in their teens, still trying to find your way around. And being placed among a competitive environment, I couldn’t help but miss home,” he admitted.
“But then I knew that if I want to follow my dreams I would have to make sacrifices. It made it easier that I was always in Europe during school breaks since my dad is from Switzerland. It was a difficult experience but I was able to overcome it. It’s about going out of my comfort zone, which helped me learn a lot about myself,” he continued.
Now, Stockinger feels extremely lucky to have experienced different cultures and places, while doing what he loves at the same time. Although he still hopes to finish his education, his pursuit to become the first Filipino to race in the Formula 1 racetrack, is his primary focus.
“I tried continuing my education in London but it became difficult since I was already racing. In order to succeed in one thing you have to fully dedicate yourself, and with racing that’s what I’ve done. But finishing school is always something that’s at the back of my mind,” Stockinger continued.
As he slowly makes his way to his dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver, Stockinger humbly considers himself a success in his own right. His recent third-place win came shortly after securing a second place standing at another Formula Renault 3.5 leg in France say it all.
“Success is not having the feeling that you’ve left anything in the racetrack. When you know you did your best, whether you finished first or last, that’s what’s important. Of course the wins are important but there are so many factors as to why you are able to win. You can’t win all races so you just take your performance in every race,” he said.
Saying he still has a long way to go, Stockinger envisions a Filipino representative at the Formula 1 racetrack, with the Philippine flag proudly flying high along with other countries. Recognizing that motor sports has a growing following in the country, the young driver remains hopeful that more Filipinos will support the sport and possibly pursue the interest of professional car racing.
Bringing racing closer to the hearts of Filipinos, the Speed Talk event gave Stockinger time with fans and supporters beyond the racing suit, allowing the public a chance to learn more about his career, and how he brings pride to the country in the international racing scene.
Stockinger is in Manila for some time to promote his partnership with Globe Telecom and Lotus F1. He will headline an event titled “Slipstream” on August 30, where fans and racing aficionados will get to see him drive his Lotus-Gravity Charouz Formula Renault 3.5 car around Bonifacio Global City. The event will also feature Lotus F1 simulators, booths, freebies, and games in partner-establishments. The day will be capped off with a high-velocity concert and a party to celebrate the milestone.