Battery, powertrain, tyres - thunderstorm? Formula E teams travel to Jakarta for the "hottest race of the year" with respect
This weekend, Formula E will make its second stop in Jakarta. As in the previous year, drivers, teams and technology can expect extreme conditions, which will bring very different challenges than last time in Monaco. In addition, tropical thunderstorms are possible during the two races.
"Because of its high ambient temperatures and high humidity, Jakarta is the most physically challenging race of the season, and we won't be racing once, but twice," says Edo Mortara, who finished third on the podium at Indonesia's debut in 2022. Nissan rookie Sacha Fenestraz expects "the hottest race of the year" in his Jakarta debut: "Everybody has been telling me how tough it will be!"
Currently, weather services are predicting temperatures of up to 34 degrees Celsius for Saturday and Sunday. Humidity is expected to be around 60 percent. "Jakarta is an incredible place. Last year we had temperatures of over 40 degrees and enormous humidity," ABT driver Robin Frijns remembers. "Maybe it's a bit comparable to the race in India, also in terms of the challenges to the technology."
"The Jakarta E-Prix is one of the trickiest races to manage on the calendar, with sweltering temperatures and high humidity," Jaguar' technical director Phil Charles says. "Not only do we need to keep the battery, powertrain and tyres in the happy temperature window, we've got to keep the team in comfortable operating levels as well; and with a double header this time around, that will be a challenge."
"Have to find best possible setup to cool the car"
Nissan team boss Tommaso Volpe echoes the same sentiment, saying, "It's very hot, humid and physically strenuous for the drivers. But it will also be very demanding for all the teams, mainly because of the conditions. With this in mind, we're focusing on finding the best possible set-up to keep the car as cool as we can and to look after the tyres."
While the teams are responsible for software cooling, in terms of tyres, the drivers also have an important role to play. "Last year we adjusted well to these conditions, which after all not only take their toll on the drivers and the teams, but also on the material and there especially on the tyres," Pascal Wehrlein knows. "It's going to be a hot weekend in every respect."
His Porsche teammate Antonio Felix da Costa is nevertheless relaxed about the "furnace" of Jakarta: "The heat and high humidity make for extreme physical stress. But as an athlete, you train for such races." Incidentally, that's also what Lucas di Grassi has been doing in recent days: the Brazilian posted a photo showing him in a sauna.
"... and add to that the unpredictable weather"
In addition to the extreme conditions, the risk of rain could also potentially become a deciding factor. While it is expected to stay dry during free practice and qualifying, some teams are expecting tropical showers and heavy thunderstorms in Jakarta for the afternoon races.
"It's a really fast, technical track and with unpredictable weather thrown into the mix as well," Jaguar manager Charles explained. "We will need to keep on our toes!"
Whether there will be a thunderstorm, and how the teams will fare in the Jakarta heat, we will see from the 1st free practice session on Friday (10:30 CEST). The races on Saturday and Sunday will start at 10 a.m. (CEST).