King: Formula 1 was first choice for 2017
15 February 2017 – Jordan King says he initially targeted a Formula 1 graduation with Manor for the upcoming season, before the outfit's operating company went into administration and then ceased trading.
King, who acted as a development driver at Manor, made free practice appearances in the United States and Abu Dhabi during the 2016 campaign, and also completed several test runs.
Manor would have fielded an all-new driver line-up in 2017, after Esteban Ocon (Force India) and Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber) switched teams, but could not find fresh investment in time.
King will instead stay in the GP2 Series for a third season, making the switch from Racing Engineering to MP Motorsport, admitting that the situation at Manor delayed his announcement.
"[Manor] was definitely a goal; unfortunately it didn't happen," King told GPUpdate.net.
"It kind of threw a spanner in the works, and we had to re-assess what I was doing this year.
"That's probably why my [GP2] announcement was very late compared to others. Others have announced in the last couple of weeks, but we know they've been done for a long period of time.
"For me, [another season in GP2] wasn't the first choice, as Formula 1 was, but it was kind of [about hitting the] reset button after they announced the company had gone into administration."
Pushed on whether he put pen to paper at Manor, King responded: "I think it's probably a bit far down the line, saying I was close to signing, but there were definite talks on the board."
Manor's demise means that all three teams to enter F1 in 2010 no longer exist.
"I think overall it's rather devastating, really," he went on to comment.
"One for the sport; you've now got two fewer seats in Formula 1, while you had the three teams that arrived in 2010 (Virgin, Lotus and Hispania), and none of them exist anymore.
"The team had actually done a great job. They'd scored a point and were showing a good turn of speed. And the car for this year would have been a good chunk better, everyone felt.
"I think it kind of shows you where the sport needs to change and get to.
"You see lots of young drivers in my position... I'm one of probably 10 drivers who could be in F1, but we're struggling as it's so controlled by a limited number of people and seats."