20 year old Austrian racer Philipp Eng has announced that he is to return to the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2010, as he targets the ultimate prize: the Formula 2 title and the FIA Formula One World Championship test drive that comes with it.
Eng, who finished eighth overall in a solid debut season at F2 level, is looking to build on what he learnt during 2009 and claim the title and the Williams F1 test.
Eng secured a third place on his F2 debut at Valencia last year, which he backed up with another third place in the Czech Republic, at the Brno circuit. His maiden F2 pole position came at Brands Hatch, and he converted the pole position into a lights to flag victory, and he successfully held off the challenge of eventual champion, Andy Soucek.
After his maiden victory, Eng then suffered some bad luck but still recorded point's finishes at Donington Park, Imola and Barcelona en route to eighth overall.
The 20 year old from Salzburg has already experienced a Formula One car; in 2008 he got a test in the BMW Sauber car at the end of 2008, as a prize for winning the BMW World Final.
Eng, who is mentored by former F1 pilot Christian Danner, has set his eyes on winning the Formula 2 Crown and with it, the Williams F1 test drive.
Speaking about the announcement, Eng said: “I am extremely delighted to be returning to Formula Two – it is just a great feeling to know that I will be racing in a top level single seater series again. It is always a nerve wracking time when you’re trying to secure a drive but now I can sleep easier knowing that I am back in F2! Like some other drivers, I will have the advantage of this being my second season but you cannot take that for granted. Kazim Vasiliauskas and Nicola De Marco will be very strong, Jolyon Palmer also went really well during winter testing and I am sure there will be some good rookies coming too, so it will not be easy. I want to at least finish in the top three overall but my main aim is to win the championship.”
Jonathan Palmer, the F2 Series Director said: “Philipp Eng impressed me enormously during the 2009 F2 season. Despite his young age and very limited experience, he proved his natural speed immediately with a remarkable top three place at the first event in Valencia. Philipp’s dominant performance at Brands Hatch, when he won from pole position at a track renowned to be a challenging drivers’ circuit, was outstanding. I expect Philipp to be a multiple race winner in F2 during 2010 and to finish in the top three in the championship – with a realistic chance of winning it.”
The opening rounds of the 2010 FIA Formula 2 Championship take place at Silverstone on the 16th-18th April.