British driver Jordan King is currently competing in the 2015 GP2 Series with Racing Engineering and is also Development Driver for Manor F1 Team. Ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, The Checkered Flag caught up with twenty-one year old King to discuss all things Silverstone, Hungary and Formula 1.
“If I look into the performance purely from my side, I’m actually very happy with it,” King revealed, talking about his performance at the British Grand Prix. “I think the team performed very well, we did the best we could. Qualifying wasn’t quite up to standard. I feel we should have been in the top 5 but the racing was very good.
“We would have finished sixth if it wasn’t for the incident on the last lap [during the feature race] but the sprint race was just as good as well, I think I drove a very and I came through to tenth position. So actually, performance wise, we had a very good weekend, just results wise, it wasn’t very good.”
Saturday’s feature race at the fifth round in Silverstone saw Campos Racing driver Arthur Pic make a bold move which meant King was sent into a spin on the final lap at the final corner and was unable to turn around and get going again. The move meant Pic was given a penalty and unfortunately, King had to start from 22nd on the grid in Sunday’s sprint race.
“The accident was out of my control, we even looked back at the data and there was nothing I could do,” King said.
“I suppose it is part of the learning process as well and the thing you have got to remember is, as a young racing driver, we’ve actually been racing for the last ten years or so, and so we’ve learnt to deal with ups and downs quite well, so actually when we get to this stage, I’ve already had a few ups and a few downs so I like to think I know how to deal with those kinds of things in a reasonable manner.”
Although the twenty-one year old used the incident as part of his learning process in his first year in a GP2 car, he admitted that he was still frustrated: “…that being said, it was still quite annoying and when I got back to the hotel room that evening I was quite angry with the outcome. It would have been a really good weekend because we could have finished sixth and then started third in the next race but it is what it is.
“Fitness wise, I’ve not really changed routine,” Jordan King said, discussing how he prepared for the sixth round in Hungary. “You make most of your gains with your fitness during the winter, as during the season, we don’t really have time to work on it. So I’ve just tried to maintain my fitness through the season.”
With temperatures in Budapest expected to soar to highs of 36 degrees, King and his team are aware that they will play a big factor in how he must prepare for the race weekend.
“I’ve been at the [Racing Engineering] factory for the past week and we’ve gone through lots of things; we’ve been looking at the Hungaroring circuit and the temperatures which are going to play a big factor in the weekend.
“We’ve not really been preparing any differently, we’ve just been looking at the circuit and focusing on things we think will affected by the temperatures.”
During his time in the European Formula 3 championship, King raced in Hungary and so is no stranger to what the Hungaroring has to offer, but driving a GP2 car around the famous circuit will be a whole new challenge.
“Hungary is a unique circuit,” the Racing Engineering driver said. “It’s got quite a rough surface, quite bumpy and it eats tyres up quite quickly.
“Even in Formula Renault and Formula 3 when I raced there, it was the same in that respect and so I don’t think it will be any different on the Pirelli’s, especially as Pirelli are notorious for not last a very long time. That is something we really do need to consider for our race run,” King admitted.
“For qualifying, it’s the same as always, you’re driving as fast as you can, you still need to have a good balance, you need to have a good car over the bumps, it’s quite tight and quite twisty. It’s a real challenging circuit, you have to grab the car by its horns in a sense and drive it quite hard.
“I quite enjoyed it in Formula 3 and Formula Renault so, a slightly bigger more powerful car should make it even more fun.”
In his rookie season, Jordan King has been racing alongside American driver Alexander Rossi, with slightly more experience than King, the British driver admitted that he has been able to learn things from the twenty-three year old: “…Listening to him [Rossi] when he is talking to engineers and when he’s got ideas, he is very valuable to the team.
“He’s been here two or three years, he’s made the mistakes and listening to him hopefully stops me from making those mistakes and helps my learning process to speed up but obviously, he wants to keep some of his cards as close to his chest as he can.”
In early March, Manor F1 Team [formerly known as Marussia] announced Jordan King as their 2015 Development driver. “The team is new,” King discussed. “They’re just getting back up onto their feet in effect but in the long term the idea is to aim, come next year, with a new car, run the new engines.
“Really, it’s just a steady process from when they started off at the start of the year through to a long term program. They’re looking to three to four years down the line to actually start challenging for good points. It’s more of a long game rather than a short game.”
The first half of year has been busy for King, with his role at Manor as well as his GP2 drive, it has been non-stop for the young Brit and with the summer break around the corner, it doesn’t get any less busy.
Recently, King signed a deal with Yorkshire Broadband company, Plusnet who decided to sponsor the young Brit after his home race at Silverstone. Over the summer, Jordan King admits he will be working closely with his sponsors: “…I have a couple of sponsor events. It’s quite a good time to actually catch up with sponsors and do some of their marketing. It’s nice to interact with the people who have been there for me to actually go and race
“Then I get a little bit of time to go and train as you struggle to have a lot of time to actually train during the season and improve yourself but more importantly, it’s a good time to rest and recuperate because you’re travelling around on planes and that isn’t always great for your body.”
Although Jordan will be attending sponsorship events and working on his fitness, for the seventh round in Belgium after the break, he will still have sometime time to rest: “It will be quite nice to be back in my own bed for a few nights and recharge my batteries to get focused on the job in hand.”