March 2, 2023
JAKARTA – After political rivalry marred last year’s event, the deputy chairman of the 2023 Formula E Jakarta steering committee has reassured the public that this year’s electric single-seater race will be free of politics.
“Regarding the Formula E race, we will make sure that it will go smoothly with no political interference, that will be over in my era,” Ahmad Sahroni, also a NasDem politician, told a press conference on Tuesday, as quoted by Tempo.co.
Colloquially known as the Jakarta E-Prix, the event was among the key programs of opposition figure Anies Baswedan during his term as Jakarta governor.
Two factions in the Jakarta City Council, the pro-government Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), however, have been vocal critics of the race.
The two parties both criticized the Rp 653 billion (US$42.8 million) in commitment fees the city paid to host the race for three years, starting in 2022.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) launched an investigation into the matter, but concerns over politicization have been raised following the commission’s inability to find sufficient evidence of corruption.
Despite the PDI-P’s criticism, however, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani, who are both PDI-P members, appeared on the podium last year to celebrate the event, with the President calling the race “a futuristic event that will only grow more popular in the coming years”.
The party seems to have softened its stance even further as two other PDI-P politicians, Jakarta City Council Speaker Prasetyo Edi Mursadi and Medan Mayor Bobby Nasution, joined the Jakarta E-Prix steering committee.
While the latter is also Jokowi’s son-in-law, the former was among the more vocal critics of last year’s race.
“Hopefully [Prasetyo] won’t be as stern this year,” steering committee chairman Bambang Soesatyo, also a politician from the pro-government Golkar Party, said at Tuesday’s press conference. “Though he can’t be here, Prasetyo asked me to tell reporters that he’s fully behind this event.”
Different to last year’s race, this year’s Jakarta E-Prix is a double-header event, hosting back-to-back races on June 3 and 4 at the Jakarta International e-Prix Circuit at Ancol Beach, North Jakarta.
Driver Ananda Mikola, who chairs the Jakarta E-Prix organizing committee, said it was targeting a 50,000-strong audience this year.
City-owned developer PT Jakarta Propertindo (Jakpro) is again the event’s organizer, while the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association (HIPMI) has now joined to help coordinate the micro, small to medium businesses (UMKM) to enliven the race.
Jakpro revealed previously in a press release that representatives from global promoter Formula E Operation (FEO) had inspected the circuit on Jan. 13.
“During their visit, FEO representatives said they were satisfied with the technical and nontechnical preparations Jakpro had made for the race,” Jakpro corporate secretary Syachrial Syarif stated in the release.