Indonesian capital awaits Formula E Gen3 grid for big points-paying weekend, as the battle for the Season 9 crown begins to take shape.
Following its mid-season European stops in Berlin and Monaco, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is headed overseas again this weekend (3-4 June), with Indonesia’s Jakarta International Circuit set to turn up the heat in the series’ 2022/23 campaign.
The purpose-built 2.37km, 18-turn lap – featuring banked corners and set against the spectacular backdrop of Jakarta Bay in the city’s Ancol coastal area – was inspired by the Kuda Lumping, a traditional Javanese dance that leaves participants in a trance-like state in which they then frequently exhibit great feats of strength or physical endurance.
It is Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy who has been flexing his muscles most of late in the all-electric single-seater series, with back-to-back triumphs in the last two E-Prixs catapulting the New Zealander to the summit of the Formula E standings for the first time in his career. Cassidy failed to score in Jakarta 12 months ago, but his recent successes mean he will go into the weekend holding a 20-point advantage over his closest pursuer.
Early-season pace-setter Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) has now slipped to second in the chase for the crown, and will be looking to reignite his title bid around the challenging, fast-and-flowing circuit, while third-placed Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) is conversely showing signs of a resurgence, with trips to the rostrum in both Berlin and Monte-Carlo.
Just two points behind Dennis is Cassidy’s countryman Mitch Evans – himself a double winner in São Paulo and Berlin – and it was the Jaguar TCS Racing driver who came out on top of a thrilling tussle with Jean-Éric Vergne (DS Penske) to prevail in searing temperatures in Indonesia last season. The Frenchman – the only two-time Formula E champion to-date – is next up in the current classification in fifth, and eager to exact revenge for his near-miss in the race in 2022.
Porsche’s António Félix da Costa was similarly involved in the battle for glory during the inaugural Jakarta E-Prix – ultimately winding up fourth – and the experienced 2019/20 title-holder, the architect of a stunning victory in Cape Town three months ago, can never be counted out.
Another former champion – Envision Racing’s Sébastien Buemi – remains in search of his first podium visit of Season 9, having placed inside the top six in over half of the races thus far. The 2015/16 title-winner – who has looked rejuvenated since switching teams – qualified well in Indonesia last year, but was unable to convert that promise into a points-scoring result.
DS Penske’s Stoffel Vandoorne overcame a couple of errors to finish fifth in Jakarta in 2022 on his way to his maiden series crown. The Belgian took the chequered flag two spots ahead of 2016/17 champion Lucas Di Grassi, who has not troubled the scorers this season since reaching the rostrum in the Mexico City curtain-raiser, meaning the Mahindra Racing ace will be fired-up to re-open his account this weekend. The Brazilian will be partnered by ex-Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi, following Oliver Rowland’s departure from the team.
Edoardo Mortara – a top three championship-finisher in each of the past two campaigns – languishes well down the order in 20th position after a luckless run for Maserati MSG Racing, but the Swiss star charged to the bottom step of the podium in Indonesia last year. He will be targeting a similar outcome this time around as he endeavours to convert the Monégasque outfit’s palpable potential into concrete results.
There is a change to the line-up at Avalanche Andretti, meanwhile, as David Beckmann – who participated in last month’s Berlin Rookie Test with Porsche – makes his championship debut in the car normally piloted by André Lotterer, who is otherwise engaged preparing for his assault on the forthcoming Le Mans 24 Hours. The German has been a Formula E test and reserve driver since 2021, and will be one of six competitors in the 22-strong field discovering the Jakarta International Circuit for the first time.
The third double-header of the 2022/23 campaign will take place on Saturday, 3 June and Sunday, 4 June, with both races getting underway at 15:03 local time (10:03 CET).
Source: Formula E
Photo credit: ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, Electric Motor News