F1 2021 got the Algarve International Circuit — racing fans know it as Portimão — with a patch on Monday, and will receive two more tracks free, as promised, in October and November, Codemasters announced Monday.
Portimão, as well as Imola (Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari) are two grade one Formula One circuits pressed into emergency duty in 2020 by a COVID-altered racing schedule. Both tracks returned to the schedule this year, and have already run their grands prix (the Portugese and the Emilia Romagna GP, respectively). Codemasters was not able to build the tracks in time for F1 2021’s launch in July, and promised them as free post-launch add-ons. Imola is due to arrive in the game with October’s update.
Jeddah Street Circuit in Saudi Arabia will join them in November. That track runs the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Dec. 5. Jeddah’s patch is scheduled for November, alongside the current Formula Two drivers and season.
New tracks will join F1 2021’s Grand Prix and Multiplayer modes immediately. In the driver and My Team career modes, they’ll be added to the schedule in their customary dates, so if players are in a season past Imola and Portimão’s April and May racing dates, respectively, they’ll pick them up in the next year on the schedule. Players restarting a career will find the tracks added in at their usual times.
However, Career also has a new feature called Real Season Start, which allows players to begin a new campaign from the present, with results from the preceding real-life season factored into the standings and teams’ progression.
Other post-launch changes coming with Monday’s patch include the new Aston Martin safety car (replacing the Mercedes AMG GT R, which stayed in the game despite the sponsorship switching this year in real life). Car performance will also be updated to match real-world results, now that about two-thirds of the season is done.
Max Verstappen, the current F1 driver’s championship leader, won at Imola on April 18, and Lewis Hamilton, currently second place, took the victory at Portimão on May 2. Until last year, the Portuguese track had not seen a grand prix since 1996 (won by Williams’ Jacques Villeneuve). Prior to 2020, Imola had last hosted the 2006 San Marino Grand Prix, the sixth one Michael Schumacher won for Ferrari on its home course.