June’s Jakarta E-Prix has become the latest Formula E round to be canceled due to the global outbreak of Covid-19, but the championship is understood to be working on contingency plans.
The Indonesian capital was set to host its first ABB FIA Formula E Championship round on June 6 after a rocky planning phase that saw the local government briefly reject the race being hosted on an historic site.
The cancelation of Jakarta’s first Formula E round was confirmed in a statement released by Formula E on Wednesday morning.
“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,” the statement read.
“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.”
Formula E has already canceled its races in Sanya, scheduled initially for March 21, and Rome, on April 4.
It’s understood that the next two races – Paris on April 18 and Seoul on May 3 – are also likely to be canceled.
Series co-founder Alberto Longo hinted at possible plans for maintaining enough races on the 2019-20 calendar.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The most likely permanent track to host a race would be Valencia, where the cars are currently stationed, and so a possible round at the Spanish track would probably take place in the coming weeks if it were to go ahead.
Currently, only the London E-Prix is set to be a double-header but it could be possible to extend other rounds in Berlin and New York City to two-race events.
How likely a behind-closed-doors race could be is still unknown, especially given the inner-city nature of Formula E rounds.
Berlin would appear to be the easiest round to stage without spectators, because of its semi-isolated location at Tempelhof Airfield.