Formula E Round 9 Preview: History to be made in Indonesia

(Photo by Sam Bloxham / LAT Images)

For the first time since 2006, an FIA-sanctioned race will be held in Indonesia with the ninth round of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship being held around the Ancol coastal area in the northern region of Jakarta.

The Jakarta E-Prix will be the first to be held in Indonesia and the fourth Asian country to host an E-Prix.

Racing into the Unknown

Formula E’s 22 drivers head into the unknown this weekend as they seek to find their way around the challenging 2.37km, 18 turn track.

Based around the Ancol Beach City resort, the purpose-built track includes all the elements of street racing together into a layout that’ll test the drivers’ skills and abilities.

The drivers will have a long run down into the first sequence of corners – a tight opening sector with a series of flowing turns and banked corners. These corners lead to a tight complex to round the lap with a long run to the start/finish straight.

Championship: The state of play

With five different winners from the first eight rounds, this weekend could see another driver claim victory and stake their claim in the title fight. As the championship races past the halfway point – the title fight is on a knife edge.

Currently, only 16 points separate the top three drivers and with three points on offer for qualifying on Pole Position, one point for achieving the Fastest Lap of the race and 25 points for victory – the championship could turn on its head at any point.

With his win in Monaco and a string of two third-place finishes in Berlin, Mercedes EQ Stoffel Vandoorne leads the championship with ROKiT Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara and Double Formula E Champion DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne nipping at the Belgian’s heels.

Out of the top flight of drivers in the championship, it’s Vergne and the ever-present Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns who are yet to stand on the top of the podium this season. Incredibly, Vergne is the only driver to have scored in each of the eight races so far and it’s that consistency that’s keeping the Frenchman in the hunt.

Mercedes triumphed on home soil in Berlin with Reigning Formula E Champion Nyck de Vries claiming victory last time out. Coupled with Vandoorne’s appearances on the podium, the German manufacturer lead the Team’s Championship by 25 points.

ROKiT Venturi and DS Techeetah have been left playing catch-up with the two teams separated by 10 points. Both outfits will need a strong race come Saturday if they want to keep Mercedes within striking distance.

Mercedes’ Nyck De Vries was victorious last time out in Berlin. (Photo by Andreas Gora/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Drivers to look out for

None of the Formula E drivers have driven in Jakarta before, but one driver has a very good record of racing when the championship reaches the far side of the world.

For a combined total of 16 races, Formula E has visited Beijing, Putrajaya, Hong Kong, Diriyah and Sanya in which 2016/17 champion Lucas di Grassi has reached the podium in more than half of these races.

The popular Brazilian, racing for ROKiT Venturi, finished fourth last time out in Berlin and will be hoping for another good race to pull himself up the Championship order.

Another driver who has a very good record when racing in Asia is Jaguar TCS Racing’s Sam Bird. As the only driver to have won at least once in every season so far, Bird has won a quarter of all Formula E races in Asia.

The British driver will be hoping to string together the perfect day in an attempt to salvage what has been an underwhelming season so far.

Formula E’s unique scheduling means that all of the action takes place on the same day. This means that both Practice sessions, the all-important Qualifying duels and the 45 minutes plus a lap race will take place on Saturday.

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