Jakarta latest FE race to be postponed amid coronavirus
The inaugural Jakarta E-Prix has become the third Formula E race to be officially postponed amid the global coronavirus outbreak.
A first FE race in the capital city of Indonesia had been scheduled for June 6, but has now met the same fate as the delayed Rome and Sanya events amid the escalating threat of the COVID-19 epidemic.
The Jakarta E-Prix had already faced a difficult conception after officials were told to relocate the race after the historic venue first proposed was rejected by the state secretariat, although that was swiftly followed by a U-turn after the local authorities reversed their decision.
A statement issued by FE read: “As instructed by the governor of Jakarta Anies Baswedan - and in consultation together with Formula E, the FIA, Ikatan Motor Indonesia (IMI) and the organising committee of the Jakarta E-Prix (OC) - it will no longer be possible to race in Jakarta on the scheduled date of June 6, 2020.
“Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the escalating number of cases in Indonesia and Jakarta, the decision has been taken as the most responsible course of action, to protect the health and safety of championship participants, staff and spectators.
“We will 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.”
Valencia replacement race on the cards
Motorsport understands that the Rome E-Prix's original April 4 slot is being kept available for FE to hold a race at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. All of the FE cars were freighted to the pre-testing location directly following the most recent round in Marrakesh.
Alberto Longo, FE co-founder, acknowledged that staging races at purpose-built tracks rather than street circuits was among the alternatives being considered by the all-electric series to bolster the dwindling 2019/20 calendar.
Oliver Turvey, NIO 333, NIO FE-005
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
He said: “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.
“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.”
Given the high number of COVID-19 cases in South Korea, the inaugural Seoul E-Prix, which was due to directly precede Jakarta on May 3, looks increasingly under threat.
The Paris E-Prix - planned for April 18 - could also be in jeopardy following the announcement that the Le Mans 24 Hours motorbike endurance race has been postponed from its original April 18-19 date to September 5-6.
FIA sets up Crisis Cell to manage coronavirus response
Formula E set to suspend 2019/20 season for two months