Just days after Formula E was forced to call off the planned Sanya E-Prix, it has emerged that the inaugural Jakarta E-Prix scheduled for 6th June needs to find an alternative location.
The race, which was announced after a contract signing last summer between Formula E and Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, had targeted the historic National Monument (Monas) complex in the city’s central Merdeka Square to host the event.
However, on Wednesday the State Secretariat of Jakarta turned down this proposal and an alternative location will have to be found.
The Monas area is under the supervision of the Medan Merdeka Area Development Steering Committee, which is managed by State Secretary Pratikno.
It incorporates many of the most important buildings in Jakarta including the Merdeka palace, the Istiqlal mosque and the majority of Indonesian government ministry buildings.
The reasons for the impending rejection of a race to be held there appear to be regarding the modifications needed to the site. These will include a temporary track surface.
Formula E has successfully implemented track surfaces at races before, including laying asphalt over a cobbled surface at the Les Invalides track in central Paris.
“The steering committee does not approve the plan for using Monas,” State Secretariat secretary Setya Utama told local media.
“[The race] needs a significant modification [of the site], including to put in a certain type of asphalt.”
Setya said the committee would soon issue a formal rejection letter to the Jakarta administration that will officially force Baswedan and Formula E’s hand in having to find an alternative location.
A Formula E spokesperson told The Race that “following feedback from the Secretary of State and Medan Merdeka Area Development Steering Committee, Formula E is working in close collaboration with city officials to move the race from Monas and assess other viable venues already studied during the original circuit selection process.
“With many other existing plans in the pipeline and city-commissioned regeneration projects in and around the Monas area, Formula E and the Jakarta Organising Committee are cooperating in accordance with the request.
“Formula E and the Jakarta Organising Committee will continue with preparations for the event based on the change in circumstances and promote the E-Prix and the importance of embracing clean energy and electric vehicles as a solution to addressing inner-city air pollution.”
The Jakarta ePrix is scheduled to be the second race in what has become an Asian double header with the first Seoul E-Prix, which will take place on Sunday 3rd May.
Jakarta was hit by damaging flooding in December when areas on the outskirts of the city suffered landslides that caused multiple fatalities.
The planned race came under brief fire in some Indonesian quarters, with a petition campaigning to stop the race in the aftermath of the floods.
Should it go ahead at a new destination, it would be the first FIA-sanctioned race to take place in Indonesia since A1GP visited Sentul in 2006.
But if it didn’t, and further disruption to Formula E’s calendar was confirmed, both the Berlin and New York City events could potentially host double-headers to ensure a 14-race calendar is completed.
That would mean that the final three events on the 2019-20 schedule would be double-headers.