One of our eagle eyed readers kindly forwarded on an article published today on the website of UK tabliod ‘The Sun’ featuring Manor Racing’s very own Jordan King. Now ‘The Sun’ is not known for it’s F1 journalism, or any kind of quality journalism but it does have direct qoutes given to them by Jordan and makes for an interesting read.
King who is currently driving in GP2 and has recently won two sprint races and continued his impressive run of form with a 2nd place finish at Budapest. King is now sitting 6th in the Championship and still has a good chance of finishing in the top 3 of the standing which would automatically qualify him for an F1 superlicence. His association with Manor goes back a few years now and he tested the MRT05 at the Silverstone test following the British Grand Prix. With the final race of the GP2 season coinciding with the Malaysian Grand Prix, theoretically King could automatically step into the car for the Japanese Grand Prix if required. Alternatively, if he fails to finish in the top 3 this season he could compete for the team in FP1 and complete the required milage in a F1 car at the end of season test in Abu Dhabi.
It is certainly something that is on Kings mind, he told the Sun:“My focus is GP2. If I win the championship, or even finish in the top three, it would increase my chances of getting a seat in Formula One. “If you win the championship, that helps you, but you have to be in the right position and if the opportunity came then you have to take it.” He also added: “At the moment, Manor would be my preferred choice of destination.
Interestingly, ‘The Sun’ reporter claims that King has a contract in place with Manor but it is determined by how he continues to perform this season.
At present, we would have to concur that King is in pole position to land a seat at the Manor F1 team next season. He has had a solid season in GP2 and has already in our mind shown that he would be more than comfortable in F1. His family connections should be able to attract the sponsorship required so is currently ticking all the right boxes.
However, it is our opinion that any talk of a full time drive in F1 next season is still a tad premature. At present, the team don’t even know who will be driving for them next weekend never mind next season. We are presuming with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg all tied up for 2017 at Mercedes that Pascal Wehrlein will continue his development with Manor Racing. Their is an outside chance he may move to William and we would presume that the number 1 seat will be continue to be dicated to by Mercedes thus Esteban Ocan may also be incontention if Pascal is moved up the grid.
At this stage of the teams development, the second seat is still there to maximise revenue. King may have the budget in place at present but the F1 landscape can change quickly over the next few months. 10th place in the championship is not yet guarenteed so the all important constructors prize money is not yet in the bank, the asking price may have to go up.
In light of this weekends rumours and the uncertainity over their line-up for 2017 a deal with McLaren for Stoffel Vandoorne next season cannot be ruled out which would presumably come with funds and a technical partnership.
A few teams have yet to confirm their line up for next year and their maybe a few drivers unexpectedly out of work, the team may have more options available to choose from come December.
Typically, the team leave it to the very last possible moment to announce their line up, normally the last of the grid, making it a sellers market. We don’t expect next season to be any different.