Written by Vyas Ponnuri, Edited by Sasha Macmillen
Nearly one month on from an exciting Monaco E Prix, Formula E action resumes once again, making its way to southeast Asia this time for the Jakarta E Prix. The Jakarta International E Prix Circuit is all set to host the event for the second year in succession.
Following a sell-out crowd of 60,000 for the inaugural Jakarta E Prix in 2022, the event has been rewarded with a double-header this season, which means double the excitement, and double the Formula E action for the teams and drivers to contend with.
The Jakarta International E Prix circuit, set to host the double-header later this weekend, spans 2.370 km (1.4 mi) in length, made up of 18 corners. The race will be run clockwise, as was the case for last season. The layout of the track bears a resemblance to the Kuda Lumping horse - a horse related to local tradition, and ridden during the Javanese dance.
The track is purpose-built, and includes two existing streets outside the Ancol Beach City Mall too. Certain portions of the circuit featured newly-laid tarmac as well last year, offering the drivers a higher level of grip. This gave it a variety compared to its counterparts on the calendar.
A long run down to the wide right-hander of turn one gives drivers plenty of time to pick their racing lines. Turn one is followed by two further turns to the right, that tighten up on entry. This section can see drivers embroiled in incidents, with one wrong move. Oliver Rowland and Antonio Giovinazzi had separate incidents in the tight first sector during the opening laps of last year’s race.
Turns four and five, two quick left-handers, lead onto the fast section passing by the mall. The track kinks to the left, before a 90-degree left hander into turn seven presents yet another overtaking opportunity, as Mitch Evans showed last season. Turn eight is another 90-degree right hander, and leads onto a tricky ‘S’ section of corners, before another short straight.
The turn 13 hairpin is the hardest braking point on the track, and can be another overtaking opportunity for the drivers. A quick right-left kink leads to another slow corner, turn 16. Attack mode is situated on the outside of this left-hander. This allows for battles into the following quick corner, turn 17, and into the final right-hander turn 18. This takes the drivers back onto the long start-finish straight, and across the line for a lap of the circuit.
The track layout received praise from a number of drivers, with Lucas Di Grassi, Mitch Evans, and former Mercedes EQ driver, and current Formula One driver Nyck de Vries all in awe of the circuit. The latter called it a “great” event, and drew strong support due to his Indonesian roots.
Driver Changes for the Race Weekend
Coming into the Jakarta E Prix double-header, two drivers are set to make their respective Formula E debuts over the weekend.
David Beckmann steps in for Andre Lotterer at Avalanche Andretti, with the latter set to take part in a test session prior to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as part of his Porsche LMDh commitments. His commitments with the German outfit require him to prioritise endurance racing activities over Formula E races, and as a result Lotterer will miss the events at Jakarta.
Elsewhere, a recent development at Mahindra also sees Roberto Merhi step in for Oliver Rowland. Merhi is set to see out the rest of the season for the Indian outfit, as Rowland is also recovering from a bruised arm from his incident at the Monaco E Prix, one that required a visit to the local hospital as well.
Both drivers took part in the Rookie Test in Berlin earlier this year, and will look to prove their worth to their respective teams over the weekend.
What can we expect from this year’s running of the event?
The inaugural running of the Jakarta E Prix saw Mitch Evans take the win for Jaguar, having started from third on the grid. Evans won out after a late-race overtake on pole-sitter Jean-Eric Vergne, who finished runner-up to the Kiwi. Edoardo Mortara rounded out the podium for Venturi Racing (now Maserati MSG Racing).
Last season’s running of the event provided plenty of action and on-track battles, and with the close nature of this season we can expect similar levels of action on the racetrack. Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy took his second-consecutive win of the season at Monaco, and with that the championship lead as well. Previous championship leader Pascal Wehrlein had a tough race, scoring only a solitary point in 10th.
Mitch Evans and Jake Dennis rounded out the podium in the Principality, as all three drivers strengthened their championship challenge during the event. Nick Cassidy heads into the Indonesian capital ahead of the chasing pack, and looking to continue his red hot form of five podium appearances in six races.
All things said, the upcoming weekend at Jakarta is set to see plenty of action, and will be another important round for the championship, as the two races over the weekend can dictate the course of the season. Will Cassidy stretch his advantage in the standings, or will the chasing pack have an answer to the Kiwi’s pace? Only time will tell.
Do make sure to tune in for the weekend’s action, with Free Practice 1 kicking off the weekend’s proceedings on Friday, at 15:25 local time (9:25 BST).