It won’t be long before we start hearing details of what to expect in F1 2021, the next official title that will be released by Codemasters this summer.
Perhaps that should say ‘official’ details, following a leak that came from information about the game being apparently revealed mistakenly on the Microsoft store.
While we wait to see what’s to come from the ‘Braking Point’ story mode, two-player career and various other changes that were spotted online, we’ve picked out the additions we’d love to see, either in F1 2021 or one of its successors in the years to come.
More track layouts and classic tracks
Extra circuits outside of the usual roster aren’t completely unprecedented in Formula 1 games, but last year’s shake-up of the real-life calendar has highlighted just how much interest there is for some of the tracks F1 doesn’t normally race at.
F1 2013’s classic content included a number of cars from the 1980s and 90s along with four classic tracks. They were Brands Hatch, Jerez, Estoril and Imola, the latter two of which were DLC tracks.
Those circuits could be driven around with the classic cars or the 2013 season cars, and not just in time trial but in proper races, too.
Of course Imola returned to F1 last year with some fanfare and is still on the calendar for this season. The other three circuits haven’t but that doesn’t mean there would be no interest in adding those tracks into the roster for F1 2021.
With Mugello and Istanbul Park making much-loved appearances in F1 last year there is certainly cause for those to be included in a modern F1 game, although admittedly the time-consuming process of adding multiple new tracks in means it’s unlikely that’ll be the case.
A more realistic proposal would be some extra layouts for existing circuits. Most notably, the Bahrain Outer layout used for the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020.
Shortened layouts for four different circuits, including Bahrain, were introduced in 2017 but haven’t been in the game since.
The Red Bull Ring, Catalunya and Paul Ricard are all prime candidates for the shortened circuit treatment, although the addition of the Bahrain Outer loop alongside the existing Bahrain short circuit has got to be the main focus. – Nathan Quinn
Online car development
The development race element of career mode has been brilliant since it was introduced in 2016, and every year Codemasters hones the system to make it better.
A version of this – even a simplified one – for online play would be superb. Equal machinery is great for many leagues and F1’s serious esports competition, but there will be league competitors out there who would love to add car development into their seasons.
The leaked information about F1 2021 suggests there could be some sort of multiplayer career mode element coming, although it sounds like it will only be two-player.
It may be too much to expect a fully-blown 10-team development race at the first attempt, but there’s no reason Codemasters couldn’t eventually offer up something similar to what we see in the top tier of the GPVWC series. – Glenn Freeman
Team manager mode
My Team is a great idea and executed terrifically, but the idea of one person both driving an F1 car and running an F1 team sort of stretches credulity a little when it comes to modern grands prix.
And yeah, it’s a video game, so obviously keep the option – but wouldn’t it be nice if you also had the option to just run a team and hire two drivers, and pick before every race which of them you would like to control?
It needn’t be a massive overhaul of My Team – you’d keep basically all the out-of-car bits the same as they are. And since the game already has other modes that allow you to race as other drivers, there isn’t really any obvious reason not to make it a possibility here. – Valentin Khorounzhiy
Run your own F2 team
Previously this would’ve been a fanciful suggestion but now there seems to be very little reason why this couldn’t be added.
In F1 2020’s My Team mode you buy car upgrades, sign F1 or F2 drivers, choose an engine supplier and upgrade team facilities.
All of those gameplay mechanics (bar engine supplier as F2’s is obviously spec) could easily be incorporated into F2, so you could raise the skills of youth prospects in your Formula 2 team before promoting them to F1.
A few months after it was first released, MotoGP 20 added the ability to run your own junior teams in career mode. So you can, all in one race weekend, watch your own Moto3 and Moto2 team race before taking to the track yourself as a MotoGP rider.
For each junior team you name them, choose a title sponsor, two riders, a team manager and a technical director. There’s also team and bike upgrades, the latter of which reset at the end of each season.
For a long time the MotoGP games have been in the shadow of the F1 games, but this is one feature Milestone has debuted and Codemasters should definitely seek to add to their games. – NQ
Race format changes
At a time when F1 is evaluating mixing up the race weekend formats, this would be a great extra layer to add to My Team and Career mode in the game series.
The F1 games already offer up some different race formats in Championships Mode. The prospect of some of these – sprint races and the dreaded reverse grids immediately spring to mind – appearing as a rule change during a 10-season career mode would be a great curveball.
F1 has gradually loosened the restrictions on Codemasters in recent years, meaning it’s had the freedom to introduce changes in car performance, rules resets, drivers changing teams and even the ability to choose which races you complete in a season. Offering players the option to enable race format changes would be a good next step. – GF
Improved driver market logic
Certain F1 teams are more prestigious than others. Certain F1 drivers are more demanding than others. And performances relative to your team-mate dictate everything.
All of that should be reflected as the driver market feature in these games continues to evolve. It’s absolutely wonderful that drivers change teams now, but it’s hard not to wish for a little more rhyme and reason in the game’s driver eco-system.
Sometimes there’s not enough movement. Sometimes what movement there is doesn’t really make sense for how the seasons have been playing out. Sometimes Ferrari loses Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel in one season and replaces them with two rookies straight out of F2.
Codemasters refined this in 2020 after the first attempt in 2019 was too random. But it might even be worthwhile to take a page out of basketball simulator NBA 2K’s book and let the player set the level of driver market volatility – ala trade frequency in NBA – to the level they prefer. – VK
Manually customisable driver transfers
It’s impossible to overstate just how much life and replay value the driver transfers feature has breathed into the F1 games since it was first introduced in F1 2019 – but more player influence could amplify that to no end.
In other sports games, namely FIFA, players can manually change around team rosters as much as they want to be used for experimentation purposes or just for fun.
For example, put Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in the same team to see how well they do in equal machinery, whether that be at Mercedes or Red Bull or even Haas.
Or you could experiment with transferring some of the lower-rated F1 or F2 drivers into the top teams to see if they can grab podiums or race wins.
Those are just two ideas but the potential for creativity, when given the ability to manually dictate who drives for which team, is incredibly high. – NQ
Custom liveries for classic cars
Every year Codemasters produces a brilliant array of classic cars that look great and are fun to drive. But racing them can wear thin quite quickly.
The desire to map the performance differences between all the cars accurately means you often spend races only battling a handful of cars within your class. While you can get a sportscar-style multi-class racing feel from having lots of cars of different speeds out there, it’s a shame to have the cars quickly break out into mini packs, based primarily on their age.
Codemasters isn’t keen on the idea of allowing the performance to be equalised like you can do with the current cars in online play, as it would be difficult to work out how to do it given the drastic differences in performance. Do you speed up the McLaren MP4/4 to match its screaming V10 counterpart from 10 years later, or do you slow down the later cars to match the earlier ones?
You can get close competition by racing against a full grid of cars identical to the one you’ve chosen, but right now that means lining up in a field of 20 cars that look exactly the same.
Sure, this is a niche request, and it could be quite labour-intensive for a small cosmetic gain. But a full field of red and white McLarens isn’t that appealing. Mix up the colour schemes – as we’ve seen in other games that feature classic F1 cars – and you could even create a historical game mode where you start off in the late 1980s and work through a bunch of seasons to take you into the early 2010s. – GF
Cool it with the post-session interviews
Answering the reporter’s questions is a nifty feature the first 50 times, but soon the understandably limited array of questions and answers becomes etched into your brain and starts to replace cherished childhood memories.
Admittedly, it’s probably how real-life F1 drivers feel about answering the media’s questions, too.
So there’s a dose of accidental realism there – but the frequency with which the interview segment crops up could certainly use to be turned down. – VK
The return of TV Mode
Possibly a niche request and hard to explain to some given that the big difference between watching an F1 race and playing an F1 game is actually getting to take part yourself.
Despite that, the spectator/TV mode was a staple of the Studio Liverpool games from 2001 up to F1 Championship Edition on the PlayStation 3.
In that mode you would pick a track, race distance, weather conditions and could even customise the starting grid to your liking. So if you wanted to put your favourite drivers up at the front or create a reversed grid race, you could set that up and watch it play out.
Standalone it may not be an overly exciting feature but, combined with the driver transfers and the ever increasing focus towards being a team owner in career mode, it’s one that could make a triumphant return given how far the F1 games have come in the past 15 years since we last saw that game mode. – NQ
Improved race simulation tools
Codemasters’ F1 series will always be more FIFA than Football Manager, and that’s fair enough. But FIFA is very well aware that sometimes you just can’t work up the energy to play every single game, and has recently upgraded the simulation feature in career mode.
And the F1 games could really use an upgrade, too. A decision to simulate a race shouldn’t equate to instant results – let us watch how our AI replacement is getting on, let us dictate the strategy and let us jump in and out whenever.
It won’t require any core overhaul of the engine, but it will require some significant gameplay and UI tweaks – but it feels like a worthwhile trade-off for letting players get through seasons quicker when they want to, without resorting to a shortened calendar (which is a lovely feature but does hamper the immersion a little bit). – VK