BMW World Final winner targets second Formula One Test
Austrian driver Philipp Eng has signed up for the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship as he bids to secure a second Formula One test drive.
Eng took part in a test with the BMW Sauber F1 Team in December last year after competing in selected rounds of the 2008 Formula BMW Europe Championship. He also raced in the German Formula 3 Cup during the same season, taking a pole position and podium finish in just four races.
The 18-year-old’s F1 experience was a reward for his hugely successful 2007 campaign. Eng finished third in the Formula BMW ADAC series before entering the highly competitive Formula BMW World Final at the Circuit de Valencia. After starting from pole position, Eng dominated the race to win the World Final and a Formula One test drive with BMW Sauber as part of the prize.
Eng only started competing in single seater racing in 2006, when he finished tenth overall in Formula BMW ADAC after racing against fellow F2 competitors Tobias Hegewald and Jens Höing.
The Austrian driver is coached by ex-F1 driver Christian Danner – who himself is no stranger to Formula Two, having competed in the championship in the early 1980s. Danner finished fifth in the 1983 F2 Championship, the year that MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer took overall honours.
Philipp Eng said: "In my opinion Formula Two is a great opportunity for young drivers because the costs are not as high as other racing series and everybody has the same vehicles – it is up to the driver to show their ability, which is great. I am really pleased to be joining this championship but I also know that it will be very tough as there are some very experienced and successful drivers in the line-up. Having won the BMW World Final at Valencia, I am really looking forward to starting the season there but I am also excited about racing at Brands Hatch and Spa-Francorchamps. The prize of a test drive with Williams F1 is obviously very appealing and my recent experience in an F1 car was amazing, so I will give everything to get another F1 test.”
Christian Danner said: “Jonathan Palmer and I go back a long time. We obviously raced in Formula Two together and I even got my first start in a Formula One Grand Prix after I replaced Jonathan, who was injured. The return of F2 is great and now that I am working with Philipp, it was definitely our first choice for the development of his career. I spoke with Mario Thiessen (Team Principle of BMW Sauber) following Philipp’s test in their F1 car and he was very impressed with his performance. He is a talent and he will join some great drivers in Formula Two, it really is looking like a quality line-up – it is how it used to be in F2! I am so enthusiastic about the return of F2 – everyone has an equal chance. I have already said to Jonathan that I would quite like to drive the car myself.”
Jonathan Palmer, Chief Executive of championship organiser MotorSport Vision, said: “Philipp is clearly an outstanding prospect at 18 years of age, and his victory at the BMW World Final in Valencia after just two seasons of single seater racing was highly impressive. Having experienced Formula One machinery as recently as December, I’m sure Philipp will be particularly determined to win the FIA Formula Two Championship and earn the prize of a second test, this time a serious evaluation with the AT&T Williams F1 Team. Philipp only contested selected races during the 2008 season, but I suspect he will be a serious contender for the 2009 F2 title. I’ve also agreed to give my old rival and friend Christian Danner a test in our F2 car – and look forward to seeing how fit he still is!”