King stakes claim to be 'Britain's Next F1 Star'
10 October 2012
If you want to catch a glimpse of the driver who could be set to follow in the wheeltracks of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta as a British representative on the grand prix grid, then make sure you tune into the Sky Sports F1 channel on Thursday, October 11 – because he's about to be revealed.
Jordan King has been selected as one of just six young competitors to be filmed for a new, in-depth documentary series entitled 'Britain's Next F1 Star', and his story will be told on the eve of the 2012 Korean Grand Prix. The show focusses on the gifted Warwickshire single-seater ace's burgeoning career to-date, from his days as a late-starter at the age of 11 – when many of his adversaries practically jumped straight out of the cot into the cockpit – to the years of playing catch-up in karting and his current status as one of the leading lights on the international motor racing scene.
A natural sportsman, King has benefitted from tremendous support from his parents, but things have not all been plain sailing for the highly-rated Stoneleigh-based speed demon. Having encountered a number of obstacles in his life – both on and off-track – he describes surmounting them as 'character-building' and asserts that 'adversity makes you stronger and a better person'.
As a case in point, he notes the dramatic difference between 2011 – an at times troubled rookie campaign in cars – and 2012, when a significant step forward has transformed him into a title contender in the Formula Renault Northern European Cup and podium finisher in the eagerly-contested Formula Renault Eurocup with Manor MP Motorsport. He has also made history in becoming the youngest-ever Formula Two racer of the modern era.
King recognises that he needs to step things up another gear again in 2013, and he is presently debating the various merits of graduating to F3, the World Series by Renault or the F1-supporting GP3 Series, in the knowledge that making the right choice will be crucial. The ultimate goal, of course, is F1, and the targeted timeframe five years.
“When Sky approached me about the programme, it was obviously a real honour and I feel very proud to be featured,” confessed the 18-year-old British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star and MSA Academy member, reflecting that the show will provide him with a substantial profile boost outside of the closely-knit motor racing circle.
“I never really think about the highlights of my career too much, though – I prefer to look to the future rather than back at the past. I'm a perfectionist and my own harshest critic, so I'm always endeavouring to improve myself, always wanting to do better. I know I've achieved quite a lot so far, but equally, I've still got an awful lot more to achieve. You've got to keep pushing yourself.
“The pressure is beginning to build as I move higher up the order – there can be no excuses at this level – and to make it all the way to F1 now requires so much more than just being able to climb into a racing car and drive it fast. You need talent, clearly, but you also need the right mental and physical attitude, the right backing, the right people behind you, the ability to present yourself well and a personality to set yourself apart from the crowd. You really need to be the complete package.”
That, the Hugo Boss brand ambassador indubitably is – and unquestionably, fiercely-driven to succeed for good measure. There is a cameo appearance in the show from cricketing legend Ian Botham, and just as 'Beefy' went on to become one of the most dominant players of his generation, so too you get the feeling that King will not be truly satisfied until he has made it to the very top of the motorsport tree.
“One of my rivals in the Formula Renault Eurocup was British Karting Champion as I was starting out – and when you then take on and beat that driver on the track as I have done on occasion this year, you come to appreciate that nobody is untouchable,” he muses. “I've always looked up to the likes of Ayrton Senna, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen, but the closer I've got to where I want to be, I've realised that I don't want to be the next Lewis Hamilton. I want to be the first Jordan King.”