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Formula 2 racing is secretly the best thing about F1 2019

It’s a great training series in the video game, just like real life

Anthoine Hubert, a French Formula 2 driver for BWT Arden, died in competition at Spa-Francorchamps on Aug. 31. The mid-season update for F1 2019, which adds the 2019 F2 season schedule, teams and drivers, is dedicated to him. F2 racing, which debuted this year, has added significant depth and variety for race fans in Codemasters’ motorsports series.

F2 is also the mode I use to calibrate the difficulty in F1 2019’s Career. Before the next race in my F1 career, I go to the same track in an F2 car and take a qualifying run against their field, then adjust the AI based on how I do. That’s because Formula 2 places a greater emphasis on driver skill, as all cars are built to the same specification, with the same chassis and engine. In straight-away F1 racing, where car performance varies widely, it can be hard to tell if your mid-pack driver’s top-10 finish was authentic or not.

While F2 cars are slower and less nimble, practicing with them has helped me log F1 times that are realistic and competitive against AI opponents rated as high as 100 (out of 110). For comparison, in F2 2018 I was driving in the low 70s, with all assists turned on.

I’m not sure if others use F1 2019 in this way, but I know if I can take pole against Nyck de Vries, Nicholas Latifi, and Sergio Sette Camara, then I will be set up for a challenging and realistic event when I drive for Racing Point in Career. F2 is, somewhat subtly, one of the best things about F1 2019, which makes its tribute to Hubert both fitting and bittersweet.

F2 is currently in a two-month break before the Nov. 30 finale at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. De Vries, driving for ART Grand Prix, has already clinched the driver’s championship with 266 points to Latifi’s 194.