Meet the 17-Year-Old Filipino Racer Competing in the British Formula 4 Championship
Eduardo Castro Coseteng was eight years old when he competed in his very first race. It was a karting clinic for first-timers called “Champions of the Future” run by local racing icon JP Tuason in Carmona, Cavite.
“I finished fourth place in my first race,” he tells Esquire Philippines. “It wasn't bad considering it was my first race, but I wasn't too happy with the result. I really wanted to win.”
Need for speed
That first taste of getting behind the wheel and speeding on a track led Coseteng to where he is in now: a professional racing driver competing in the FIA British Formula 4 Championship for Argenti Motorsport. The single-seater, UK-based motorsport series is designed to provide young racers the opportunity to transition between karting and driving Formula Regional Championships. Racers as young as 15 are allowed to compete and measure themselves against other drivers from around the world.
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“Competing in the FIA British F4 championship is such a big deal for me because this is the first step in the ladder to Formula 1,” the now 17-year-old says. “So I won’t take anything for granted.”
Of course, racing is in Coseteng’s blood. His father Jody Coseteng is a legend in local motorsports, having won the Driver of the Year award in touring and circuit cars 15 times in the 1990s. The elder Coseteng has won several other awards over the years, including two Karter of the Year titles from the Philippine Sportswriters Association.
Clearly the racing gene has been passed on to the young Eduardo.
“I grew up playing a variety of sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, etc.,” he says. “I was aware of racing at a young age due to my dad being a racing driver himself and I was there watching him win and cheering him on. He is the reason why I am here today. He introduced me to racing go-karts at the age of eight. I’ve always looked up to him and wanted to be him so I followed his footsteps, but this time to an international level. He has supported and guided me ever since. I owe it all to him.”
Moving to the UK
The young Coseteng began competitive kart-racing at a young age, which meant school had to take a back seat. He confesses to have had a tough time juggling school with the demands of his burgeoning racing career.
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“As I got older and more committed to racing, balancing school and racing was extremely difficult,” he says. “I slowly started prioritizing my motorsport career rather than school.”
Eventually he and his family decided that he should move to Europe, the world center of racing and motorsports. The determination to make it in the extremely challenging world of competitive racing was instilled in Coseteng’s head the first few times he guested in a few races when he was 13. That was when he knew he wanted to take his motorsport career to the next level. But that brought with it another challenge.
“In order to be the best in motorsport, you need to compete against the best,” he says. The best level of racing was in Europe so I had to move to the UK and live in a boarding house for a while. Being away from family and friends was tough for me especially because I was only 14 years old. But that's the sacrifice I needed to make in order to be successful.”
Racing all over Europe and elsewhere in the world, Coseteng says there have already been a few moments that stick out in his memory in his young career.
“Being unbeaten in the Macau Karting Grand Prix in 2019,” he says. “Vice Champion at the IAME SEA Series 2017; Competing in the IAME World Karting Championship; placing 11th in the British X30 Championship in 2019.
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"But my favorite was the X30 European Series Round 4 in Salbris, France,” he says. “I qualified eighth in my group and had a lot of bad luck in the heat races as I had a technical failure, a crash and a 7th. Starting second-to-last in the second chance race, I came through to make the main final. I charged my way up from 42nd to 9th on track but 14th overall after penalties. The race was intense with a lot of overtaking every lap. I enjoyed it a lot.”
Coseteng says he looks up to racers like Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris in motorsports.
“It would be great to win British F4 on my first year as only two people have gone and won it on their first year and one of them was Lando Norris,” he says. “But I wouldn't want to emulate anyone's career. I want to do my own thing and get there how I get there.
Of course, car racing does carry risks, and Coseteng says he’s had a lot of close calls and accidents on the track.
“That's normal,” he says. “Everyone is driving on the edge and we are bound to go past the limit at some point.”
When racing on the track, Coseteng says he keeps his mind clear and just focuses on the task at hand. The same laser focus applies to his career overall. His immediate goal is to win the British F4 Championship this summer. Beyond that, the long-term goal is to take a seat in Formula 1.
“But we all know that is extremely difficult,” he says. “There are definitely no guarantees, but I will try my best with what opportunities come my way.
“As I said on the Who the Heck Are We podcast, ‘You're not there to take part. You're always there to be the best. If you don't go with that mentality, why are you still a racing driver?’”
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