So how could I not miss a real Formula One car running down the streets of Manila? In my home country, where there is no Formula One? I couldn’t. This moment would definitely go down the books of Philippine motoring and motorsports history. Of course, how all of us local race car drivers wish we could have been the star. But race driver mode, off; fan boy and support to Philippine motorsports, on. A push for the good guy, Marlon Stockinger for his F1 bid with one of Formula One’s top teams, Lotus F1, was on the works. Here’s a Pinoy who just might make it.
It was said that on the 4th of May, Saturday morning at 9 AM, Marlon and his Lotus F1 would drive around Quirino Grand Stand, Luneta Park, and Kilometer Zero.
There were hardly any people around at first and I thought to myself, “Where in Manila are they?”. I eventually heard the V8 engine of a Formula One revving north of Luneta Park towards the Manila Hotel. Lo and behold, Formula One cars with the Lotus F1 Team were sitting pretty on Katigbak Drive.
There were a lot of common faces around despite the foreign members of the European F1 team. Even Manila Mayor, Alfredo Lim, was there to witness the spectacle.
The fans were anxiously waiting for the F1 to start moving and they all had their yellow balloons of support, ready to cheer on the Filipino driver.
The Lotus F1 team by 10 AM had finally brought the Lotus R30 over to Roxas Boulevard by Kilometer Zero and the Rizal monument. Again, there were just so many people.
It started to happen. It was very historic indeed with the Philippine flag waving and the Rizal Monument of Luneta Park at the background.
The host and one of the Lotus engineers unveiled the symbolic Kilometer Zero or the Philippines’ referral point of the whole national highway system.
KM 0 as read on this one of a kind kilometer post in the Philippines.
It was really humid and very hot under the unshaded Roxas Boulevard as we waited for Marlon to take his seat inside the Lotus F1. I had to have a picture of historic Manila and an imaginary version of the Manila Grand Prix grid area.
The driver finally arrived, and it still took forever to start because of numerous safety checks by the organizers.
Now formula one usually have those pre-race grid shots for race day. This looks legit for a Sunday race day, only except if that guy holding the umbrella was a grid/umbrella girl.
Finally, Marlon took off with the Lotus R30.
In a matter of a few seconds, he’d be on the other side of Roxas Boulevard, in front of the Quirino Grandstand. By the time I would get there, he was already done the donuts. F1 wins over my pair of feet.
Lunch time and the party would move to SM Mall of Asia. They’d already set up the meet and greet area inside the mall, at the same time a wax display of Stockinger, an F1 car, and two simulators that the fans could try out.
Walking outside the Mall of Asia, the Manila Speed Show was all over the place.
I was privileged enough to dine in the VIP area were everyone including the Lotus Team, celebrities, and big players of the event gathered for this special event.
Inside the VIP tent they not only had good food but also a Lotus F1 simulator from French company Jok Race. You could read my experience of this simulator, Lotus F1 Simulator in the Manila Speed Show.
Motoring host, James Deakin interviewed Lotus Team Principal, Eric Boullier after lunch time.
I was able to sneak a picture with the team principal of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean after his interview.
That led me to having pictures with all the other important people while they weren’t too busy yet, like Marlon Stockinger.
Funny how people didn’t notice this girl Camilla Guidecelli. I don’t like making speculations but if Marlon becomes famous, she could become just as famous as an F1 WAG. Nicole Scherzinger, Jessica Michibata, Dasaha Kapustina… you get the point.
So eventually the sound of the F1 did roar again and off went Marlon again. This time around the Mall of Asia.
It was a really short stint of 2 laps. It was also a bit of time as Marlon and his Lotus F1 went by just too quick.
James Deakin pulled Marlon out for an interview in front of tons of Filipino fans.
It was time for round 2 of the Saturday afternoon show. VIPs had a chance to take a back seat point of view in a two-seater Formula car with Lotus Test driver, Davide Valsecchi, flaunting aggressive Italian driving skills.
While Davide did his driving relations, Marlon interacted and signed autographs for media and fans.
Day 2, Sunday, had more visitors watching the F1 road show.
A big improvement with the organizers having to work the schedules out better, even putting more shows around the F1 show grounds.
The organizers were able to put in four laps for Marlon. He was given a set of this four-lap F1 road show during lunch time and another later in the afternoon.
That gave us enough time for us to take pictures and videos, and enjoy the Formula One sound.
During the Sunday afternoon, more friends of Marlon arrived like another previous karter of the year, Matteo Guidecelli.
Marlon then went on again with business driving for the last time in his F1 Lotus on Manila’s streets.
Davide Valsecchi also got confused going around Manila.
With the Manila Speed Show almost over, there was one last hurrah before the Lotus Team called it a day.
The Tattoo Pit Stop Challenge had a contest of who would be changing the tires of an F1 car the fastest. The Lotus pit crew showed us how to do it.
To make the story short, this is how it ended. You could read the full entry and watch a video here, A 3.5 Seconds F1 Tire Change.
No doubt Marlon had to not just thank his sponsors and fans, but also all the volunteer marshals who gave their best effort to run the event safely.
Nothing like a cliche, happy ending moment for the F1 road show with a rainbow over the venue.