F1 practice will be perfect for developing Manor driver King

Jordan King will be driving for Manor Racing in free practice ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

Jordan King will be driving for Manor Racing in free practice ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

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Jordan King will make his Formula 1 debut on Friday morning when he drives for Manor Racing in free practice ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

The opportunity marks another step towards the Harbury driver’s ambition of becoming a full-time F1 driver, with the 22-year-old taking over Pascal Wehrlein’s car for the session in Austin.

Development driver King, who currently lies fifth in the drivers’ standings in GP2, said it promises to be a special experience.

“I think it shows how far I have come as an individual and as a driver,” said King. “You dream of driving a Formula 1 car from a young age and then to be a part of a race weekend and be on the circuit with everyone else is something very special.

“I’m sure it will be quite an emotional day.”

King took part in the Pirelli test in Abu Dhabi at the end of last season before run-outs with Manor in both in-season tests at Barcelona and Silverstone and Manor racing director Dave Ryan said this marks the next step in his development.

“It will be good to give Jordan his first FP1 session,” said Ryan.

“He’s done a really great job in his development driver role and this opportunity was a planned part of his programme with us.

“We look forward to getting his feedback and this further opportunity to appraise his performance in the MRT05.”

Looking further ahead, King makes no secret of his ambition to break into the F1 ranks, but he says he is still unsure what 2017 holds.

“As I’ve always said this year, my first focus is GP2.

“Doing the best I can in GP2 will always stand me in good stead in my racing career going forward.

“The break in the GP2 calendar has given me an opportunity to focus more on other aspects and show the wider motor sport world what I can do. So I’ll be giving this weekend as big a shot as I can.

“As for next year, I’m undecided as yet. I’ll be aiming for a Formula 1 team, there’s still a long way to go and there’s still a lot happening in the sport.

“Although I can always wait until 2018, something could still happen for 2017 - so it’s difficult to answer that question just yet.

“But my goal is Formula 1 and hopefully that can happen in the next 24 months.”