Jordan King impressed during his debut weekend in the FIA Formula Two Championship at Spa-Francorchamps.
The 17-year-old TCF blogger became the youngest driver to compete in the series since its relaunch, and where better to begin than the legendary Belgian circuit.
“Spa is a proper F1 circuit and really challenging and the quicker the car and the more downforce it has, the more of a challenge it becomes,” he said. “There's a massive amount of power to get used to in the Formula Two car; when you get on the gas, initially there's not a lot there – but then the turbo kicks in, and suddenly you get another blast. The steering is quite heavy with the bigger tyres compared to a Formula Renault, too.”
A series of red flags and hold-ups in the first free practice session on Friday morning restricted Jordan to 22nd. He bounced back in the second session though, astonishingly setting the third quickest time.
Qualifying on Saturday morning took place on a wet circuit thanks to the traditional unpredictable weather in the Ardennes region. This made things harder for Jordan to repeat his practice pace.
“I'm usually good in the wet, so there were no worries on that count, but the car and circuit were both completely new to me in those conditions. I was lying about tenth in qualifying but then I spun, which ended our session with almost a third of it still to go – and as others went quicker after that, we ended up 16th. That was disappointing, as I felt sure we could have been in the top ten.
“In the race, I got a really good start to gain several places straightaway, but then going up through Eau Rouge for the first time, I turned into the top left kink slightly too early and clipped the kerb, sending me sideways and into a complete 360° spin, which was pretty scary! That left me down in last place and it was hard to fight my way back through afterwards, especially in the wet, but we recovered to 17th at the end.”
Thankfully the track was dry on Sunday, and this allowed Jordan to show his pace once again in qualifying. Despite clutch issues early on in the session and 'a few small mistakes' on his fastest lap, Jordan wound up sixth fastest.
A strong start allowed Jordan to jump up to third place on the opening lap of race two, but he would eventually drop back to finish eighth.
“I got a mega start again and went to the inside into the first corner, which gained me a place immediately. Some people slid a little wide on the exit, but I got good drive to pass another one of them there. I then had a really good run down the hill and up through Eau Rouge and made up another position still going along the back straight, which left me third, but our speed wasn't quite good enough to hold it there and we fell backwards a bit.
“We struggled with understeer throughout the race, too, which didn't help and I think if I had accepted the situation a bit earlier, we might have ended up with a better result, but I probably fought too hard to try to defend against other drivers, which cost me time and I finished eighth.”
“I was definitely pleased for my first race weekend in Formula Two,” he concluded. “I learnt a huge amount, and it was a good, solid debut, so I have to be satisfied with that – I think the others were quite surprised by how quick I was first time out.”
There is no break for Jordan, with the next round of the season taking place at Germany's Nurburgring this weekend.
“The Nurburgring is another new circuit for me, so it will be another learning curve, but I feel stronger after Spa and better-prepared for it now. I know what to expect this time and what I need to work on – and the goal has to be to stay inside the top ten.”