British F3 vice-champion Jazeman Jaafar will get his first taste of a Formula 1 car on 17 March when he partakes in an exhibition run along the streets of Kuala Lumpur in a Mercedes F1 car.
Jaafar, 20, has enjoyed long-term support from Malaysian energy firm Petronas, who are also title sponsors of the Mercedes F1 squad and the nation’s Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit near capital Kuala Lumpur.
In 2007, he won the Formula BMW Asia champion and moved on to Formula BMW Europe, where he raced for two consecutive years (scoring two podiums and finishing 14th and ninth). 2010 saw Jaafar switch to British F3 with Carlin, spending three years in the category with the team, achieving his best results (second place) last year. For 2013, he has a deal with Carlin in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship.
“It’s difficult to describe the emotions I had when I was told by Petronas that I would be given the chance to drive the Mercedes”, commented Jaafar. “I’m happy, excited, proud and impatient for March 17. As there won’t be an opportunity for me to drive the car before the Kuala Lumpur event, I’m preparing by working with the team on the simulator alongside my Formula Renault 3.5 programme, but to be making my F1 driving debut behind the wheel in front of a home crowd will be just totally awesome.”
Mercedes’ long-time test driver Sam Bird is also scheduled take part in the demo run.