Jordan King will return for a second season of GP2 Series Racing in 2016 having re-signed with Racing Engineering, the team who gave him his series debut last year, with the British driver having one eye on securing the Championship for the Spanish outfit.
The former British Formula 3 Champion announced his plans at the Autosport International Show, and spoke to The Checkered Flag about the reasons why he decided to stay with Racing Engineering.
“I’ll be racing once again with Racing Engineering again in GP2, so that’s all sorted, just got to win the championship now, that’s the easy bit!” joked King to The Checkered Flag. “Hopefully I’ll [also] be continuing with Manor in a similar fashion.
“I stayed more to keep the continuity; the team were good, they’ve won the championship a couple of times, and they did a good job this year with Alex finishing second in the championship.
“Yes there are areas we can still improve, there always will be to be quicker, but as a package there wasn’t enough for me to move somewhere else, I think I’ll gain more from knowing what’s going on than trying to learn a new team.”
King had high praise for his 2015 GP2 team-mate Alexander Rossi, feeling he benefited with having the American racer alongside him within the team.
“Alex was really good, his experience really did help me progress quicker than I would have than if he wasn’t there,” admitted King.
“It was nice to see him in F1 as I actually get on with him really well as a friend, it’ll be nice to see him move onto bigger and better things.”
Despite securing a maiden GP2 podium at Spa-Francorchamps and finishing a number of other races inside the points in his rookie season, King admitted he was slightly disappointed, but feels the work he did in 2015 will benefit him during his sophomore season.
“I personally was kind of disappointed but I’d always say that, I’m never going to be happy with it,” revealed King. “I always want to do better and always want to achieve more, but I think that overall it was a good, solid year; I learnt a lot and had some good results, and got confidence going into this year.
“It was a big jump [from Formula 3], as for me there were more variables. There was a lot more to learn, a lot more that could go wrong, and we’ve got different tyre compounds, so it was more just learning about that more than anything.
“Some circuits your tyres last a couple of laps, other circuits they just last forever. I think I always over-preserved them, I always finish the race and say ‘guys I need an extra five laps, I have tyre life left’ so perhaps I was a little to cautious on the tyre than not hard enough.”
King believes he is not expecting to make a big change in his driving style in 2016 but does expect to make gains in time as he puts effort into some of the smaller areas he feels needs improvement.
“It’s a balance, I’m not looking for a big change, it’s more gains in the little areas, so it’s never a big jump,” said King. “I’m not suddenly going to be half a second quicker.
“I might be a tenth or over the year a little bit better but it’s not going to be massive.”
King arrived in GP2 after two years in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, and feels his career has progressed well in that time and since winning the British Formula 3 crown back in 2013, although he admits it is hard to judge progress.
”It’s always hard to judge when you win one championship and you go into the next championship,” said King. “You maybe don’t win it or you have a bit of bad luck or you have some good results, it’s always hard to judge whether you have improved.
“You do just have to look at yourself in the mirror and work out where you are better and where you are worse and I think I have definitely progressed throughout the years.
“I look where I was at the start of the year to where I am now and towards the end of the year I was a lot better, I knew what was happening and I was getting results on my own back, not just falling into them.”
At the end of 2015, King had his first taste of Formula 1 machinery when he took to the track in the post-season test in Abu Dhabi for the Manor F1 Team, and admitted he felt ready for the experience.
“It was good, it was well within my stride actually, I didn’t find it so difficult,” revealed King. “I think you’ve built up to it for so long, it’s been ten years in the making and when I got there I was ready, I was prepared, and it was all good.”