A new metropolis has been added to the Formula E world map with the Jakarta E-Prix on 4 June, as Indonesia hosts the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship for the first time. At the wheel of the two Porsche 99X Electric race cars are André Lotterer (GER/#36), who earned points from both races at the Berlin doubleheader event recently, and Pascal Wehrlein (GER/#94).The race on the Jakarta International E-Prix Circuit marks the start of the second half of the season. The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team anticipates “a tough weekend with extreme weather conditions,” says Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E. “The team has to stay focused on earning points to catch the competition.”
After 8 of 16 races, André Lotterer currently ranks seventh with 59 points in the drivers’ classification of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Pascal Wehrlein follows in eighth place with 51 points. In the team classification, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team lies fifth with 110 points.
Q&A on the Jakarta E-Prix
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E
Formula E heads into the second half of season 8 in Jakarta. What have been the highlights so far and what needs to improve?
“Obviously, a highlight has been the fantastic one-two in Mexico but also our strong qualifying performances. André is the only driver to make it into the duels at all races and, apart from one other team, we’ve been represented there more than any other squad. In addition to Mexico, our performances on other racetracks have been positive. We managed to be in the fight for a podium in Diriyah, Rome, Monaco and Berlin. At times we even led the races in Rome and Monaco. For the second half of the season, we not only need to get ourselves into a position to fight for podium places but to actually achieve them with the necessary degree of consistency.”
How much more preparation is needed to tackle a new racetrack like in Jakarta?
“There are, of course, additional challenges when you compete on a new track. With the help of the information available to us, we’ll prepare to the best of our ability. Moreover, we’ll try to anticipate what we’ll face on this newly built circuit, for example, how will the new asphalt respond to intense sunlight and high temperatures? We’ll tackle such questions in our preparations.”
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36)
You’re the only driver this season to progress into the knock-out qualifying duels at all races. What makes you so strong and how do you feel about this record?
“Of course, I’m pleased with this statistic. It means that I have a fast car and that my engineers work well together. Without them and the team, I couldn’t have achieved something like this. We’re doing everything we can in our preparations to create the conditions for such performances in the simulator. So far we’ve managed to take what we’ve learned and implement it in all qualifying sessions. I’m very pleased about that.”
How would you sum up your first half of the season and what do you expect for the remaining races?
“So far, the season has shown me, first and foremost, that we have the potential to regularly score points. If everything comes together on a weekend, as it did in Mexico, we can also win races. For the second half of the season, I expect that we’ll learn our lessons well from races like the one in Berlin and grow stronger. We need to keep progressing if we want to be in contention for the title.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94)
This is the first outing in Jakarta for Formula E. Are you excited about the new track?
“It’s always fantastic to experience a new racetrack. The first laps are particularly exciting. I find it fascinating to feel the grip on the track and the balance of the car. I’m very much looking forward to it.”
You claimed the first Formula E victory for Porsche in Mexico. Are you satisfied with the first half of your season?
“I look back with mixed feelings. We won in Mexico, and we retired in Monaco. We need to be more consistent in tapping into the potential. I think we’ve forfeited too many points in the first half of the season. Compared to last year, we’ve made good progress but not yet on all tracks. We have to work on that.”
The Jakarta International E-Prix Circuit is located in the Ancol district with Jakarta Bay as the backdrop. It is not a typical street circuit – most of the track is flanked by walls, and it more closely resembles a permanent racetrack. While the purpose-built circuit is just 2.37-kilometres long, it features 18 turns. The start-finish straight is one of the longest on the Formula E calendar. In addition to the high humidity, teams and drivers must be prepared for temperatures reaching 35 degrees Celsius. The likelihood of rain is extremely high at this time of year. Heavy downpours and thunderstorms are to be expected, especially in the afternoon – and this can have an impact on the race.