Jordan King Q&A: “It’s great to smell burnt rubber again”

English GP2 racer Jordan King and his Racing Engineering team completed a successful three-day test in Barcelona at the end of last week, where he finished as high as second on the time sheets. The 22-year-old is now looking ahead to the second and final pre-season test in Jerez on 29-31 March, before contesting his second season of F1’s feeder series.

How do you feel the Barcelona test went overall?

Well first of all it was so great to get back in the car after a long winter and smell burnt rubber and engine oil again. The three days went very well, we tried all sorts of different set-ups and runs, and on Thursday we showed very well in quick trim, finishing third in the morning and second in the afternoon session. We’ve made progress since the Abu Dhabi test in December, but it’s difficult to say where we actually are until qualifying in Barcelona on 13 May. Overall the team’s attitude is very positive.

You had mixed weather conditions to contend with last Wednesday. How was the car behaving?

This was actually the first time I’ve been able to take in the process of setting up the car for the wet. It rained in qualifying in Monaco last year, so that was the ultimate baptism of fire, and it happened again in Sochi which was a totally new circuit for me, so it was tricky to find a benchmark. This time in Barcelona I was able to dial the car in, get a better understanding of it and hone my driving style.

You’re headed back to Spain, this time to Jerez, for the 29-31 March test. What are your expectations?

More of what we’ve been doing already, and looking in the mirror to see where I and the team are able to improve. It’s important to be self-critical in the weeks leading up to the start of a new season so you can iron out every weakness. We’ll have a pre-briefing before we fly to Jerez to focus on the areas we’ll be working on. It’s quite a tense period but we’re getting there.

Who has emerged as the strongest from the Barcelona test?

It’s difficult to say because you don’t know what the other teams are doing, you can only guess at the fuel levels, but looking at the timing sheets I think you’ll find it’s roughly the same order as last year. A few teams and drivers have made some progress, but I think there are ten cars out there capable of winning races. There won’t be one or two teams ahead, it’s going to be a very competitive pack and therefore a tough but exciting and unpredictable season.

What are you plans between now and the Jerez test?

I got back to England on Friday night and spent the whole weekend in the gym, so no rest for the wicked. Between now and the next test I’ll keep working on my fitness and attend some sponsor meetings and events, which I must say is a good position to be in. I think it’s been a very productive pre-season thus far and I’m working steadily towards my goal of Formula One.