Mercedes to test Malaysian driver Friday at Silverstone

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You might remember earlier this year when Mercedes participated in a secret tire test that was later exposed and became the spring’s biggest F1-related scandal?

Well now, Mercedes will be doing the first running of Formula One’s offseason too. Except this time, it will conform to the regulations.

The team will test Friday at Silverstone with Malaysian driver Jazeman Jaafar, 21, using a 2011-spec W02 chassis (one two years old) with demonstration tires. Jaafar is backed by Mercedes’ title sponsor Petronas, and has competed in British F3 and the World Series by Renault in 2013. His best WSR result was third at Monaco, and he also finished sixth at this year’s Macau F3 race.

Jaafar’s test will be the first for a Malaysian in F1 machinery since Fairuz Fauzy had five Friday free practice one outings with the Lotus (now Caterham) team in 2010. Alex Yoong is the only Malaysian to have started a Grand Prix, competing with Minardi from 2001 to 2002.

Understandably, this test means very little in the grand scheme of things considering that teams can’t test their 2013 chassis following the last checkered flag of the year at Brazil about a week and a half ago. Additionally, teams have yet to get any running on the new-for-2014 Pirelli compounds, and details are still being worked about to figure out when that can happen and with what machinery.

Still, in a month where there’s little on-track action going on around the world, it will be interesting to see how Jaafar gets on.

Champion Marc Marquez leads MotoGP into virtual world Sunday

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During its layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, MotoGP will become the latest racing series to enter the virtual world.

The MotoGP Virtual Race will be held at 9 a.m. ET Sunday, March 29 with 10 riders. It will be streamed on several platforms, including the Motorsports on NBC YouTube channel. Reigning series champion Marc Marquez is among the riders in the field.

The premier class of MotoGP has yet to hit the track this season as its opener was canceled and the next three races were postponed, including the Grand Prix of the Americas being moved from April 5 to Nov. 15.

Several other racing series have tried online racing in recent weeks.

IMSA held a “SuperSaturday at Sebring” March 21 in place of the postponed Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. NASCAR started its Pro Invitational Series last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will continue Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar kicked off its six-race IndyCar iRacing Challenge with a Saturday race at Watkins Glen International that was won by Sage Karam.