The trip to Jakarta marks Formula E’s second outing in Indonesia, home to 273 million people – a huge contingent of motorsport fanatics eager for another taste of the leading electric racing series as the city once again plays host on motorsport’s world stage after a more than memorable first visit to the nation in 2022.
Last time out in Jakarta
It was uncharted territory for the championship’s grid of 22 world-class drivers on Formula E’s first visit in 2022, but huge sell-out crowds and many millions more followed the action as the race came to an almighty final lap climax, with three drivers crossing the line within a couple of car lengths.
Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) fended off the close attentions of Jean-Eric Vergne and Edoardo Mortara to take his third win of Season 8.
The Jaguar driver made a late-race lunge that caught then-leader Vergne off-guard at Turn 7 on Lap 31 – an opportunistic move from way back. From there, walking the tightrope of energy and outright speed on the new circuit became increasingly critical for the lead duo as they fought between themselves and against searing track temperatures which were among the hottest the series had ever encountered.
That allowed Mortara to join the party and look to pick up the pieces as Evans and Vergne squabbled. Evans had some five minutes plus added time to hold the pair off, with the race anybody’s heading into the final turn and his rear tyres fading fast. The Kiwi did hold on, though, to head Vergne home with Mortara right with both of them – all three drivers within a second of one-another.
As it stands…
The title battle took another turn in Monaco as Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) fired to the top of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with a storming drive from ninth on the grid to the race win in an absorbing 2023 Monaco E-Prix.
Cassidy led home Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing), having fended off his countryman until a late-race Safety Car made the win certain for the Envision Racing man, who was put under severe duress from the factory Jaguar driver.
The 150mph game of chess ebbed and flowed as leaders vied for control and to set the pace but Cassidy’s decisive early-race moves yielded the ultimate result, with the Kiwi placing his I-TYPE 6 perfectly around the outside of three at the Fairmont Hairpin on Lap 4 and managing to hit the front as early as Lap 7 through the first round of ATTACK MODE activations. Once his engineer gave the green light for a six-lap sprint finish, Cassidy didn’t look back – despite the close attentions of Evans’ factory Jaguar.
That left Cassidy 21 points clear of TAG Heuer Porsche’s long-time leader Wehrlein on 121 in the Drivers’ table with podium finishers in the Principality Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) – the Brit returning to form in third – and Evans now fourth. Jean-Eric Vergne in the DS PENSKE did enough to leave Monaco fifth in the running after a stunning recovery from the very back of the pack to seventh and good points. Envision Racing leapt to the top of the Teams’ standings, 14 points ahead of TAG Heuer Porsche, while Jaguar TCS Racing sits third.
Wehrlein had led the way from Diriyah but a downturn in form for the German has opened the door to the Jaguar-powered Envisions and the factory Jaguar TCS Racing outfit, spearheaded by Evans – last year’s winner in Indonesia. Both outfits have duly taken control, and it’s now down to the Porsches to fight back.
The Porsche 99X Electric still has the performance within but unlocking it consistently over a lap and in qualifying appears to be an ongoing and potentially costly issue, especially with new standings leader Cassidy sealing two wins and four further podiums in the last six rounds.
A double-header offers plenty of points for all-change and everyone from Vergne up in the title race is in with a shot of heading into the final third of the inaugural GEN3 campaign on top of the pile.
Return to a new Formula E favourite
Formula E’s 11 teams and 22 drivers faced a whole-new challenge when they rocked up to the Jakarta International E-Prix Circuit last season. It’s a purpose-built racetrack which brings all the best elements of street racing to picturesque Ancol Beach – South East Asia’s largest park, welcoming some 40,000 visitors a day. Unique banked sections, undulations, bumps and a mix of technical and high-speed sections will provide a real test. A sellout crowd enjoyed the inaugural encounter in the city last year, and there’s a double serving with two races this year.
The 2.37km, 18-turn circuit kicks off with a tight opening sector after a long run down the start/finish straight. There’ll be plenty of room for manoeuvre into the right hander at Turn 1 before drivers head into a flowing series of turns that swoop by Ancol Beach City. The final sector is a tricky complex following a fast right-hander at Turn 12 and another long straight into what will no doubt be a busy Turn 13 hairpin come the race. An awkward left-hander at Turn 18 rounds out the lap with a strong slingshot required down that long home straight.
The circuit’s development is aimed at leaving a lasting legacy in the city, breathing new life into Ancol Beach and kickstarting the city’s post-pandemic tourism comeback. City authorities have also earmarked the location as a potential centre for innovation as Indonesia drives towards a complete EV transition by 2050.
The event will be 100% powered by sustainably-sourced HVO and as ever in the world’s first net zero sport, it’s a net zero carbon event. Formula E will measure, reduce, and offset all its unavoidable emissions by investing in renewable energy production.
Who’s in with a shot?
We’ve seen eighteen races in Asia, across Beijing, Putrajaya, Hong Kong, Diriyah, Sanya, Jakarta and Seoul give us some clue.
Since the first race on the continent, 2016/17 champion Lucas di Grassi has made the podium on eight occasions – more than 50% of all Formula E’s rounds in Asia. Could that bode well for the Mahindra Racing driver? He needs a result this season – the Brazilian has failed to get his hands on silverware since the Mexico season opener.
On past form, Jaguar TCS Racing’s Evans should also be one to watch. While his teammate Sam Birdt has stormed to victory in a quarter of all Formula E races in Asia, the Kiwi is the driver leading the factory Jaguar charge and is fresh off the back of silverware in Monaco. On top of that, he won here last year and knows what it takes.
Action gets underway with Free Practice 1 on Friday from 15:20 local time, with Free Practice 2 from 09:10 on Saturday 3 June. Qualifying follows at 10:40 and Round 10 itself starts at 15:00.
Free Practice 3 starts at 08:10 on Sunday 4 June. Qualifying comes next at 10:40 with Round 11 at 15:00.
Follow the action on-track as it happens in the brand new Race Centre. Keep across Live Timing – which includes a real-time interactive track map and the ability to follow your favourite driver during every session of every E-Prix.
There’s also exclusive extended highlights, detailed session reports, interviews, all the standings and results as well as data, insight and reaction from trackside.