Prema's F2 rival teams “need to look at themselves”

Jordan King says Formula 2's established teams need to step up their game after Italian outfit Prema dominated the series in its debut GP2 campaign in 2016.

Prema's F2 rival teams “need to look at themselves”
Pierre Gasly, PREMA Racing leads Antonio Giovinazzi, PREMA Racing, Norman Nato, Racing Engineering, Sergey Sirotkin, ART Grand Prix and Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix at the start
Pierre Gasly, Prema Racing and Antonio Giovinazzi, Prema Racing
Podium: winner Pierre Gasly, Prema Racing, second place Antonio Giovinazzi, Prema Racing celebrate with champagne
Johnny Cecotto Jr., Rapax, Antonio Giovinazzi, PREMA Racing, Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly, PREMA Racing, Artem Markelov, RUSSIAN TIME & Nicholas Latifi, DAMS
Antonio Giovinazzi, PREMA Racing leads Norman Nato, Racing Engineering
Pierre Gasly, PREMA Racing overtakes Jordan King, Racing Engineering
Jordan King, Racing Engineering
Jordan King, MP Motorsport
Jordan King, MP Motorsport
Jordan King, MP Motorsport
Jordan King, MP Motorsport

Prema took over the Lazarus team's entry in GP2 in 2016, winning the teams' championship on its first attempt and finishing 1-2 in the drivers' standings with Pierre Gasly and rookie Antonio Giovinazzi.

The team finished the season just under 200 points clear of usual GP2 frontrunners Racing Engineering, Russian Time and ART Grand Prix.

King, who is switching from Racing Engineering to Dutch team MP Motorsport for 2017 in the newly-renamed series, says the teams' standings shake-up of last year gives him hope for a breakthrough for his new outfit.

He told Motorsport.com prior to GP2's rebranding: “There's no doubt that GP2 needs to look at themselves in general, because Prema come in, and show all the old boys how it's done - so there's definitely room for improvement for everyone.

“But I don't see any reason why MP can't challenge. You see last year DAMS struggled... ART the year before were so dominant, where you see a slight driver line-up change and they end up finishing fourth in the championship and not winning it.

“There is a mix-up, and I think that Prema proved that [there's room to improve] and hopefully we can do that.”

King added that, despite F2's status as a one-make series, it is particularly tough due to the fact the choice of team makes “a massive difference”.

“It's not always the best driver wins, we've seen that over the years," he said. "The car makes a massive difference, the team make a massive difference - you can really see that.

“Last year, by any stretch of imagination, Prema came in and really did show everyone else how to do it, how to produce a quick race car.”

Title challenge with MP realistic

Dutch team MP Motorsport has won only one race in its four years in GP2, courtesy of Marco Sorensen in 2014.

It had its best season in 2016 as Oliver Rowland headed the standings midway through the season, only to slip well down the order in the run-in and finish ninth.

King, who confirmed he also had an offer from Russian Time for this year's F2 campaign, said the prospect of mounting a title challenge with MP was “as realistic as you can make it”.

“I'm very comfortable with the team, I first drove for them back in Formula Renault - you know, I'm comfortable with the people and I trust they will do the best they can do for me," he added.

“Obviously, they're probably not one of the most favourite teams, but I still feel, I've tested for them, still feel it was a solid championship [campaign] that they've had before.

“Whenever they've put a good driver in the car, they've been at the front of the grid.”

Asked who he expected the main contenders for the F2 2017 crown to be, King said: “Well, I don't think you can write Prema off by any stretch of the imagination.

"Yes, they're two rookies, but, Charles Leclerc especially - he's good, he's got the right people around him and the right people that want him to succeed, which is also worth a lot in motorsport. And seeing Prema's car last year, that was something quite impressive.

“I would say that's the usual teams and the usual suspects, really. The main ones I would say is the drivers who were winning races last year and the Prema boys.”

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