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F1 2019 adds F2 to career mode, launches two months earlier

Great news for motorsports fans

Haas Racing in F1 2019 by Codemasters Codemasters

Two pieces of legitimately great news for motorsports video gamers: Not only is Codemasters’ next F1 game launching two months earlier than usual, it’s adding the Formula 2 Championship, which by itself should add plenty of depth to the game’s time vortex of a career mode.

F2, not F1, got to share the good news on Monday, noting that this will be the 10th anniversary of the video game series under Codemasters. F2’s chief executive confirmed that series’ drivers and teams will be a part of the game, and that players will be able to race alongside them (in the 2018 season) before climbing the ladder to Formula One.

FIA’s Formula 2 championship took over for the old GP2 feeder series in 2017. In F2, every team uses the same chassis, engine and tire supplier, which places greater emphasis on driver talent to determine race outcomes. In the video game, players racing on tougher opposing AIs and with fewer assists should appreciate having a more competitive experience early on. In the past, even a skilled driver on a striver team in F1 was still looking at a lot of back-of-the-pack finishes because of the immense advantage posed by Mercedes, Ferrari and other top constructors.

Still, the current (as in 2019) F2 season will be “digitally added later in the year, complete with online functionality,” F2 said. Paul Jeal, Codemasters’ F1 franchise director, confirmed that F2 would be a part of the game’s career mode. “We can’t wait to unveil more details on how this is integrated into the career mode in the coming weeks,” he said.

The F1 video game series’ career mode has been very team-heavy in its progression, as opposed to building out a driver. Even though last year’s game added more role playing choices and fleshed out the rivalry structure, the true upgrading lay in the R&D portion of the game, and that’s all on the car, of course.

F1 2018 did add mid-year contract negotiations and team transfers for drivers, but doing so effectively abandoned any work put into the vehicle, making it mainly an aesthetic role-playing choice. With F2, players should be putting a little more time into proving themselves as a young driver (F1 2018 sort of assumes the player came out of their teams’ junior squads as a hotshot talent) before getting thrown to the wolves in the top series.

With the inclusion of F2, the Codemasters game should find out what its NASCAR counterpart has over the past two years — that the easiest way to give depth in something that has pretty much nailed the gameplay is to just add more layers of competition to the career mode. 704 Games’ NASCAR Heat added the Xfinity Series and Camping World Trucks in 2017, including a hot-seat portion of the driver’s career, and fleshed that out further with a fictitious dirt-track series last year, giving drivers four series to manage concurrently if they so desired.

And the other piece of good news is simply the launch date. The series has shipped as late as October (F1 2014 and 2013) and once in July (F1 2015) but a June launch is the earliest so far, and two months earlier than the August window the series has had since 2016. In real life, Formula One’s season has been about a dozen events in, with next year’s teams and drivers already taking shape, by the time the video game has launched.

It’s still not day-and-date with F1’s kickoff in March, but the June 28, 2019 launch on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One will come five days after the French Grand Prix, the eighth race of 2019.