Reigning British Formula 3 champion Jordan King returns to action this weekend at Silverstone in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship driving for Carlin. Last year he dovetailed his British F3 campaign with a solid season in Euro F3 that saw him place comfortably as the best rookie in sixth place.
He impressed during the pre-season tests at the Hungaroring in Hungary and the Red Bull Ring in Austria, and will go into the season as one of the championship favourites. The 2014 Euro F3 car differs from the 2013 model; it has far greater engine power for one, plus electronic paddle-shift gears and softer Hankook tyres that provide extra grip. All 28 drivers had to acclimatise to the new cars, but it was King that was fastest in the first morning, and was in the top ten in every session after that.
“We had plenty of track time, which allowed us to make excellent progress as a team and a lot of improvements,” said King. “We are still learning with the new car, of course, and there is more performance yet to come, but we are as well-prepared as we can be going into the season. I’m happy with the work we’ve done and where we are at the moment.
“As always in testing, you never know what the others are doing and that means it’s impossible to read too much into the timesheets or accurately gauge anybody’s form, but we concentrated on running our own programme and collecting data and didn’t get sucked into trying to steal any headlines. There are, as ever, so many unknowns at this stage of proceedings, but we are definitely in the ballpark and moving in the right direction – and we will soon find out exactly what the pecking-order is.”
The year of experience of racing in the series in 2013 should help the confidence of King, and having worked hard on his fitness over the winter months, he will go into the Silverstone round with the aim of winning first time out. But the twenty-year-old from Warwick knows that the standard of drivers in the series is high, and he will have his work cut out to play up to his favourite tag, even amongst the Carlin team that will field six drivers.
“This is shaping up to be the hardest year of my career so far. Last year was tough, but in 2014, the opposition looks even stronger. Some of my rivals have been racing in F3 longer than I’ve been racing in cars, whilst at the other end of the spectrum, there are some really quick rookies coming through as well and any regulation change always threatens to shake the order up a bit.
“With six extremely good drivers at Carlin, it will be a tall order simply to win the inter-team battle and we will certainly keep each other on our toes! We will need to push season-long and be absolutely at the top of our game throughout to extract the maximum out of every situation.”
This year he is eager to fight for the championship, and hopes home advantage will help him start the year as he means to go on, but will be treating it like any other race.
“Looking to Silverstone, you can’t win the championship in the first round, but you can undoubtedly make life difficult for yourself if you have a bad weekend. It’s always nice to drive on home turf, but to be honest, I’m just treating it the same as any other race meeting and the primary objective will be to come away with a very solid clutch of points – although of course, it would be fantastic to begin the campaign on the top step of the podium…”