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Watch this F1 multiplayer driver get Office Linebacker’d

F1 2019’s ranked online races can be a pain train

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

One of the generic pieces of advice offered by Jeff, your race engineer in F1 2019, is to watch out for the first turn. Well, duh. But it is especially applicable to multiplayer racing. Watch:

Nearly every F1 course opens with a long straight that ends with a sharp turn and a one-way ticket to Lockup Island. But a few courses almost lend themselves to this kind of multiplayer headhunting, and the No. 1 hairpin at Bahrain International Circuit, where a goon can shave off the tip and T-bone someone unawares, is one of them. As one wit pointed out in the F1 subreddit, clearly this was on the victim for not noticing the dot on his minimap leaving the track and steaming directly for him.

Here’s the perspective from the victim themselves. As another wag said, this is the motorsports equivalent of Terry Tate, Office Linebacker. Here comes the pain train, baby! Choo choo!

Another course that’s good for this mayhem? Circuit Paul Ricard, which rejoined last year’s game and has the kind of huge run outs that accommodate MotoGP riders but make F1 drivers all grumbly. The train whistle F1 theme makes this video, IMHO.

And of course, everyone loves the long backstretch at Shanghai International Circuit.

This may look like multiplayer in F1 2019 is out of control and beyond any help, but after about 10 hours of track time, most of that ranked, I disagree. By and large, ranked multiplayer once you get to an A or S rating in the super license (sorry, licence) system (introduced last year because of multiplayer disruptions) is clean, with drivers trying to race honestly and brutally policing those who do not. I have been the transgressor many times, not deliberately — but leaving myself too little braking room for the uphill right at Austria, and plowing into the field like a fucking n00b is a sure-fire way to get run into a containment fence later. That has definitely happened, and I have definitely deserved it.

In other words, the safety rating doesn’t by itself cut out bad behavior, but it does put me in fields where breaking the code of clean racing means a meeting with Mr. Mayhem later, so I am, at minimum, trying not to mess other people up. Because if my S rating goes down to an A (or worse, B) it’s back to kindergarten where the dookie is really smeared on the walls. People with an S rating take it very seriously; it gets very uncomfortable when I’m just inattentive to what I’m doing on the track.

That said, I have never seen someone kicked out of a lobby. It takes a majority of the field, voting within a very short timeframe, to expel a driver, and with prime-time racing involving north of 12 drivers, good luck with that. Most of the time you head to track before the voting can finish. The closest I saw anyone come to getting kicked was yours truly, after I got plowed in Mexico by the same guy twice and decided to finish my race a full 2 minutes, 45 seconds after the winner, making everyone wait. For those who were in this room, my safety rating went up for this, so suck on that Tic Tac.

Others may disagree with my sanguine assessment of ranked multiplayer, and find it warped by idiots, risk-takers and other malefactors. They do have a point. My counterpoint is Baku. For every 99 or 100 backups when someone gets too cute through the Castle section, you’ll find one moment of pure poetry that makes it all worthwhile:

The next level of puzzles.

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