Jakarta. The Indonesian government said preparations are near completion for the country’s first-ever F1H2O powerboat grand prix to be held in Toba Lake, North Sumatra, from February 24-26.
The Indonesian grand prix, which will become the opening round of the season, is expected to boost the sport-tourism industry in North Sumatra, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali said in a video conference with major media companies in Jakarta on Tuesday.
“This is the pinnacle of powerboat racing -- the equivalent of F1 in motorsports,” Zainudin said, adding that Indonesia has secured the right to host the F1H20 race until 2027 at the same venue.
At over 1,145 square kilometers and a depth of 450 meters, Toba is the biggest lake in Southeast Asia and one of the deepest in the world, according to the organizers.
The new circuit has a total length of 2,218 meters with the required minimum depth of the race course of 20 meters.
Toba Lake, which circles an island almost the size of Singapore, has been recognized by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage Geopark and included in the Indonesian government’s five super-priority tourist destinations.
The Communication and IT Ministry promised to bring a 5G internet network to the venue, repeating the success in providing reliable telecommunication infrastructure for MotoGP and World Superbike events in Mandalika.
“The ministry is collaborating with cellular operators like Telkom and Telkomsel to ensure smooth telecommunications during the F1 powerboat racing just like we did for the MotoGP event in Mandalika,” Usman Kansong, the ministry’s director general for public communication, told the conference.
“We also establish contacts and coordinate with foreign media companies because this international event draws a lot of people with TV audience and on-the-spot spectators reaching a total of 140 million,” he added.
Zainudin received the baton for the upcoming race from the emirate of Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates, on December 17 during the final round of last season.
Toba Lake can be accessed through two airports: Kualanamu near the provincial capital of Medan and Silangit in the district of North Tapanuli.