Jordan King’s season draws to a close in Abu Dhabi

Jordan King’s 2017 FIA Formula Two season drew to its conclusion this past weekend at the season finale at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi.

The eleventh round of the season saw the FIA Formula Two season paddock head to its only twilight race of the year at the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit. The unique track is one of a few on the calendar to run anti-clockwise and is the only track to feature an underground pit lane. Adding to the stunning architecture, the season was to finish in glamorous style as the grid was set to do battle for the final time in 2017.

Starting action on Friday, practice was contested in sunny conditions around the 5.554-kilometre circuit and Jordan struggled with outright pace in his MP Motorsport car. Posting a lap time of 1:50.378 after 21 laps, Jordan knew that he would need to be on top of his game if he was to secure a good starting position in the critical qualifying session.

As darkness fell on the Yas Marina Circuit for Friday’s qualifying session, cooler temperatures didn’t play into Jordan’s hands as he struggled to get the best out of his car. Finishing the session in 15th place, Jordan’s lap time of 1:48.476 was 1.3 seconds off Artem Markelov who took pole for the feature race.

Jordan was disappointed with how his week had started but remained positive heading into Saturday.

“It was a disappointing day and not the start to the weekend I was hoping for. I didn’t manage to put a lap time together and left some time out on track. I’m remaining optimistic and looking forward to tomorrow where we should make our way up the field.”

Feature Race

Evening fell on a conundrum for MP Motorsport and most of the teams on the grid when it came to strategy: the supersoft Pirellis were seen as fast but fragile, leaving a lot of head scratching as to when, and how, to use them. Tyres were still being changed on the grid, but when they started their formation laps Jordan had opted for the supersofts.

When the lights went out for Saturday’s Feature Race, Jordan got a great start from 15th place and was pushing himself up the order as he fought through the field to where he felt he should be. Jordan was making the supersoft tyre work perfectly for him as he took full advantage of the quicker tyre and had made his way into the top-ten through the opening laps of the race.

Jordan began to find his pace fading on the supersoft tyres and eventually dived into the pits on the seventh lap on the race. Rejoining the action on the harder compound tyre, Jordan was left all by himself to drive a lonely race in Abu Dhabi.

Not having to do any fighting, Jordan preserved life in his tyres and drove a steady race to take the chequered flag in 10th place. However, after the race Oliver Rowland and Antonio Fuoco were disqualified from the race classification, meaning Jordan was promoted to 8th place and in doing so, secured the all-important reverse-grid pole position for Sunday’s Sprint Race and the final race of the 2017 season.

Jordan reflected on a lonely first race in Abu Dhabi and remained hungry for the final race of the season.

“Ultimately we didn’t have the pace to battle our way through the field today. The track is difficult for passing and you have to get your moves done early in the race which is what I did. After that, it was a lonely race and I just had to pump in the lap times and was happy to pick up some more points. After the disqualifications, we’re starting on pole for the final race of the season so hopefully we can end the season on a high.”

Sprint Race 

Starting on pole position for the final race of the season, the race opened to the usual sunny conditions but Jordan was unable to capitalize on his starting position as he bogged down at the start and fell down the order to sixth place.

Disappointed with his tough start, Jordan fought back and managed to fight his way past 2017 Champion Charles Leclerc, but couldn’t match the pace of the Prema driver and was eventually passed as Jordan fell back down the order to sixth.

Now with the two drivers from the Team Champions, Russian time, behind him, Jordan led the pair but when Artem Markelov pulled out of Jordan’s slipstream, the Russian driver misjudged his manoeuvre and clipped Jordan’s rear tyre. This contact resulted in Jordan picking up a puncture, sending him off the track and falling down the order like a stone.

Making his way round to the pits, Jordan eventually managed to get new set of tyres on his car but was a massive 41-seconds behind the next car when he rejoined the race. Posting some blistering lap times, Jordan set the fastest lap of the race on the eighth lap but eventually called it quits as he came into retire his car on lap eleven.

Jordan couldn’t hide his disappointment with the result in the final race.

“It was really good to be in the points on Saturday but unfortunately today’s race didn’t go to plan as I picked up my third puncture of the year – that just summed up my luck in 2017! It’s not the way I wanted to end the year but I can’t change it now! After three great years in F2, I’m spending the next few weeks working on next year’s plans and I’m really excited to get going!”

Jordan’s third season in the series saw him get off to a strong start as he picked up points in ten of the first eleven races and his pace also saw him collect three fastest laps across the year! Unfortunately for Jordan, he also had his share of bad luck; three punctures and an engine failure forced Jordan into four retirements – all in the second half of the season and all while running in a strong position.

Jordan ends the 2017 FIA Formula Two season in 11th place after picking up 62 points across the eleven-round campaign and he also helped his MP Motorsport team to their highest-ever finish in the series as they secured 6th in the Teams’ Championship.