King chases Button's tracks with Brawn GP work experience Already inarguably one of the UK's most promising young motor racing talents, Jordan King had the opportunity to take a privileged, behind-the- scenes peak at the workings of a ...
King chases Button's tracks with Brawn GP work experience
Already inarguably one of the UK's most promising young motor racing talents, Jordan King had the opportunity to take a privileged, behind-the- scenes peak at the workings of a front-running Formula One team when he spent a week at the factory of current world championship leaders Brawn GP.
The work experience at the highest level of motorsport came about during an exclusive auction at the Great Ormond Street Hospital Formula One Party during the build-up to the British Grand Prix. Jordan revealed that it had been something of an eye-opener.
"I was surprised at how laidback the whole atmosphere was," confessed the Warwickshire ace. "I'd thought it would be a lot more stressful and fast- paced, with people running about all over the place."
It is just such a calm, measured approach, indeed, that has been pivotal to Brawn GP's phenomenal success in 2009, with Jenson Button having triumphed six times from eleven starts to-date and team-mate Rubens Barrichello ably backing Britain's newest sporting hero up with his first victory of the campaign in Valencia and four further podium finishes to-boot.
Spending his time predominantly in the race engineering department as Brawn GP prepared for the European Grand Prix, Jordan admitted that he had been somewhat taken aback by the sheer scale of the team's facilities, and described as invaluable the chance to meet and chat to key figures such as CEO Nick Fry and team manager Ron Meadows.
"For the first three days I was with a technical engineer and did things like making a gear ratio for the track," related the 15-year-old. "I went into a few meetings where they were talking about the car, and I learned a lot about the way the team runs.
"For the last two days I then went down into the parts workshop and production area. I helped out around there and learned a bit more about how the car is actually put together and everything that's involved in that process. It was a great experience getting to see different aspects to the sport compared to what I'm used to out on the track."
The indisputable highlight of the week, though, was when the Harbury-based speed demon was invited to put his skills to the test on Brawn GP's state- of-the-art simulator, used regularly by the team's drivers to prepare for races over the course of the season. Lapping 1.6 seconds adrift of Button led the aspiring F1 star to quip tongue-in-cheek that he was disappointed not to have got even closer to the seven-time grand prix-winner.
"On my last lap I was on for my fastest time yet," Jordan explained. "I was up two tenths in the first sector and three in the second but then ran wide with two corners to go. On the data I would have been under a second off Jenson..."
As to Brawn's chances of maintaining their advantage right through to the climax of the 2009 Formula One campaign, the Repton School pupil had no doubt, contending that 'they will remain quick all the way to the end of the season, and both drivers have a good chance of winning the championship'.
Returning to his racing, having claimed the prestigious Kartmasters honours and coveted 'GP' Plate that accompanies them earlier this month, Jordan travelled to Nutts Corner in Northern Ireland for the fifth round of seven on the national Super 1 Series schedule. A solid qualifying performance up against no fewer than 33 top drawer rivals saw the promising teenager lap a scant 16 hundredths of a second shy of the top spot, but a miserable brace of heat races ended in two DNFs - being forced into retirement with a bent axle in the first encounter following an early knock from behind, and overtaking the championship leader to pull out a comfortable advantage in the second before his chain cruelly came off with just two laps remaining.
That left the reigning British Mini Max Vice-Champion plum last in 30th on the pre-final grid, but a stirring drive enabled him to battle his way determinedly through to ninth at the close - ahead of the defending British KF3 Champion - matching the winner lap-for-lap throughout, despite having to fight his way up the order. All was set for an assault on victory in the all-important grand final from a much more respectable grid slot, but then the heavens opened with a vengeance and the meeting was called off, leaving Jordan with nothing to show for his outstanding raw pace.
Still, with the high-profile CIK-FIA World Cup at Sarno in Italy next up on his agenda now in early September, there will soon be an opportunity for the UK's leading Maranello representative to make amends - and prove his credentials as not only the best KF3 rookie, but the best in the world full stop.