The Jakarta E-Prix has been taken off the current Formula E calendar, becoming the latest venue to fall to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Formula E, the FIA, Ikatan Motor Indonesia (IMI) and the Organising Committee of the Jakarta E-Prix (OC) have deemed it no longer possible to race in Jakarta on the scheduled date of June 6 2020.
Indonesia has been mildly affected by the virus and as of Tuesday evening had 27 cases and no reported fatalities.
A statement issued by Formula E detailed that “the decision has been taken as the most responsible course of action, to protect the health and safety of championship participants, staff and spectators.”
Formula E added that it would “continue to monitor the situation closely with the relevant authorities and the organising committee of the Jakarta E-Prix, in order to assess the possibilities of rescheduling the race at a later date.”
Jakarta is the third Formula E race to be taken off its originally intended race date. It follows the Sanya and Rome E-Prixs, which were supposed to take place in March and April respectively.
The Race understands that plans for a double-header event at Valencia are mostly in place but are awaiting final confirmation from local authorities.
This would likely take place over the weekend of April 4/5 and would likely take place behind closed doors.
In addition to Valencia, it is believed that the Portimao track in Portugal has also been scouted out as a possible host venue.
“With the growing number of COVID-19 cases in countries where Formula E currently has events scheduled to be held, we are evaluating contingency plans to lessen the potential impact of coronavirus and maintain the highest possible number of races on the calendar for season six,” said Formula E deputy CEO Alberto Longo.
“It is a fluid situation, developing on a daily basis and we remain realistic and flexible in our approach to alternative options, which will be communicated in due course.
“These include adding double-headers to existing events, using permanent facilities and racing behind closed doors if necessary and advised to do so by local authorities in any given location.”
Plans for the Jakarta race had already had a fraught gestation since initially being announced last September.
The deal initially detailed a race around the historic Monas monument square in the centre of Jakarta. However, in early February, doubt was cast over whether the race could go ahead at this location when local political wrangling at first blocked the possibility of using the square.
Then last month the Medan Merdeka Area Development Steering Committee took the decision to allow the E-Prix to race on the historic Monas square area of the Indonesian capital.
Anies Baswedan, the governor of DKI Jakarta and the self-styled driving force behind the plans to host an E-Prix, claims to have a five-year deal to run an E-Prix in the city.
City-owned developer PT Jakarta Propertindo (Jakpro) is believed to have start work on preparing the track despite significant criticism from some local politicians and public groups about the cost of the plans.
Gilbert Simanjuntak, a politician from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, openly slammed the locally reported budget plan of Rp 1.6 trillion (US$1.1billion) for the construction and operational management of the site in order to host the race.
Simanjuntak said that Jakarta’s fiscal package was much less than the one laid down for the Hong Kong’s, which has been reported to have hosted the 2018-2019 race for $39m.
“I don’t understand what makes the cost in Jakarta more than twice the cost in Hong Kong, while construction materials are quite the same,” Gilbert told Indonesian media.