Fresh from his first GP2 podium placing of the season at the weekend, Jordan King got his first taste of the MRT05 today at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. He completed 91 laps, with his best time being a 1:27.615. leaving him 10th overall in today’s test.
King has been the teams development driver since 2015 and received his first taste of an F1 car in December of 2015 when he took part in the Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi alongside his then GP2 rival Rio Haryanto. King is now is his second season of GP2, racing with the Racing Engineering team where last season he partnered Manor Race Team reserve driver Alexander Rossi.
His best result in the 2015 season came when he scored a 2nd place at the Spa round of the season. He finished 12th overall. He had previously competed in Formula Renault and Formula 2 before competing in both European and British Formula 3 winning the later series in 2013.
One day, an article about Jordan will be written that does not mention who his father is. Today is not that day. Given the majority of our readership is not UK based we make no apologies.
Jordan is the son of Justin King who is well known in the UK after successfully running the UK Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s. After leaving Sainsbury’s King was rumored to be a potential replacement to succeed Bernie Ecclestone to head F1 and soon became the interim chairman at Manor after it fell into administration in 2014. His experience and contacts were seen vital in striking deals with creditors which in turn allowed the team to continue. His exact involvement and ownership levels in the team in the Stephen Fitzpatrick era are still relatively unknown however the presence of his son suggestion he still holds some financial sway at the team. What we probably can conclude is that Justin King did not step in to help Manor in 2014 out of the goodness of his heart but being the savvy businessman that he is, saw an opportunity to help aid his sons rise to the F1 grid.
Last weekend saw the announcement of the continued relationship between Mercedes F1 and Manor Race Team. In our opinion that means that for the next few seasons as the team climbs it way up the grid the team will always field a chosen young driver hand-picked and probably paid for by Mercedes and one funded driver.
After two season in GP2 King will be ready to step up to F1 and with the sort of money coming from his family and their connections that make Mamma and Pappa Haryanto look like paupers, it makes perfect sense if he continues to perform in both GP2 and in the testing opportunities that are granted to him that Justin will be stepping up to a full race seat with the team in 2017.
However, if he continues to make solid progress and given the backing he has, it would not surprise us if Manor are not the only team looking for his services for next season.