Waving the Philippine flag in the Formula One or F1 race has long been a dream of Filipinos. But, for the first time, it now seems possible. Filipino-Swiss racing driver Marlon Stockinger is the country’s best bet for F1 glory.
Aside from having a large fan base of gearheads, his popularity with the ladies is increasing, too.
After honing his skills in the Philippine Shell Super Karting series, Junior and Senior Rotax Max World Finals, the Formula BMW Pacific series and Formula Renault UK Series, Marlon has moved to the GP3 Series, the training ground for F1. He received high praise at the GP3 series last year when he bagged his first win in Monaco.
His efforts have clearly caught the eye of the Lotus F1 Team, who recently signed him up as one of seven junior team drivers to be trained and supported for bigger challenges.
Marlon certainly shows no signs of stopping, be it on the track or in between races. During his recent visit to Manila, I asked for a chance to learn about his love for racing, home-cooked Pinoy food, and the products he never leaves home without.
What excites me most about competing in this year’s World Series by Renault is… We are the main show! When I competed last year, we were participating as a support event to Formula 1. This time, it’s nice that we are the main event so the fans can come to see us! Plus, tickets are free!
A driver whom I’ve always idolized is… Ayrton Senna (1960-1994), because he showed so much passion for racing. I think that’s why he was so quick. He simply believed that nothing could stop him from a pole or a win. The guy simply drove with complete focus and determination and not many people are able to do that.
My most memorable race was… Monaco, of course. It’s special because I proved to everyone that the Philippines can contend with the best drivers from all over the world. Monaco is also not an easy race to win because the risks of crashing are high. It was literally the most mentally draining race I’ve ever been through, managing less than an inch between myself and the wall. I will never forget the flag being raised and our national anthem being played—it brought me to tears. I will remember that day for the rest of my life!
I think Filipinos make very good drivers because… We have bad traffic, haha! Joking aside, I think we are good because it’s a sport where, physically, we are the right size. The cockpit of a Formula car can be very tight and small, so being comfortable is very important as this can affect how you drive. Thankfully, most Pinoys have the right physique for it.
Also, I think we have this natural aggression where you can see us, as a country, excel in sports like boxing. This is also necessary in racing, but on a more controlled level. It’s good because you can always tone down the natural aggression if you’re gunning for the win or taking more risks in the rain, but you simply can’t force it on a driver.
What I miss most about the Philippines is… Home-cooked food. Whenever I’m home, I always want sinigang, adobo, tapa, gising-gising and everything Filipino. I also miss the endlessly warm sun and being able to do sports outdoors! And also going to the beach, especially Boracay!
F1 items that I have collected are… Hats and photos. Most of them are signed by the likes of Kimi Räikkönen, Juan Pablo Montoya, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jenson Button and many more. I’m such a fan boy!
If I’m not in race gear, I’m in… Jeans, boots and a T-shirt. I’m pretty casual but I normally like to pair what I wear with a decent pair of shoes; desert boots are my obsession these days.
Products I have in my gym bag are… Rexona deodorant, body lotion, Colgate toothpaste, wax and perfume. I also bring my own shower gel as I don’t normally trust what they keep in gym showers.
My choice perfumes are … Jean Paul Gautier, Kenzo Ice and Yves Saint Laurent for men.
In my car, I always have… Wax, perfume, gum and hand sanitizer.
Follow him on Twitter @imstockinger.
Marlon’s choice perfumes come from Rustan’s department store, and his bath and body products from Watson’s.
Top tip: When the humidity’s rising and your barometer’s getting low, the shower’s the place to go. But Marlon knows that gym showers can be a dodgy place, especially when it comes to bath and body products. So it’s always wise to bring your own toiletries.
L’Occitane just launched a new fragrance for men accompanied by a body-care collection named Verdon.
In a hurry? You can experience an invigorating quick and easy shower with L’Occitane Men’s Verdon Fresh Water Shower Gel for Body and Hair. This two-in-one formula gently washes away impurities, dirt and build-up with refreshing peppermint and energizing citrus, leaving behind soothing aquatic notes, so you can be in and out of the shower in five minutes. Your skin is left feeling clean and comfortable, and your hair, healthy and shiny.
L’Occitane Verdon Men’s Shower Gel 150ml retails for P995, available at Rustan’s department store.