F1 2021’s release is just around the corner, and it will allow us to fully replicate the 2021 Formula One season, jump into Braking Point’s story mode, and, of course, sees the return of My Team and the regular driver career mode.
One of the exciting additions to the game will be three tracks that were relatively late additions to the 2021 F1 calendar: Imola, Portimão, and Jeddah.
So, let’s take a look at the three tracks that are coming to the upcoming game.
Imola, for many years, was home to the San Marino Grand Prix before it dropped off of the Formula One calendar after 2006.
It made its return in 2020’s rejigged “Covid Calendar” for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with the event making a late return in 2021, filling in for the postponed China round.
The track is sadly most often remembered for the tragic events of 1994, which saw the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.
Despite changes made to the track following those accidents, Imola is still a fast and flowing venue, one which punishes the drivers if they make a mistake.
This season’s race was a chaotic wet-to-dry affair, with Max Verstappen taking a fantastic victory while title rival Lewis Hamilton made a rare error to crash into the barriers. However, a red flag – thanks to a major accident involving teammate Valtteri Bottas and Williams driver George Russell – gave Hamilton a lucky break.
Track management are pushing hard for Imola once again to have a regular place on the Formula One calendar.
The Algarve International Circuit, often referred to by its location of Portimão in Portugal, made its F1 debut in 2020 as part of the reshuffled calendar that was massively impacted by the pandemic.
It only opened in 2008 but has become a favourite among drivers and motorcycle riders alike, thanks to its undulating nature and challenging corners. Plus, what helps the track provide great racing is that it has various lines that the drivers can take in and out of corners.
The 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix held at the track was the first time that the Portuguese Grand Prix had been held since 1996.
Both of the races that Formula One has hosted at the venue were won by Lewis Hamilton. The reigning Drivers’ World champion had to battle past McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and then-teammate Valtteri Bottas in 2020. This year, he fought past title rival Max Verstappen before again putting a move on his teammate for the lead.
It’s unclear if the track will return to Formula One anytime soon, but given that 2022 is expected to be more along the lines of business as usual, it’s unlikely that Portimão will get to host another Grand Prix.
The Jeddah Street Circuit is unique among these three tracks as it hasn’t yet been built. The new Saudi Arabia Grand Prix was announced back in November 2020 and is set to take place in the city of Jeddah, which is located along the banks of the Red Sea.
Of course, the announcement of the race proved controversial due to the country’s human rights record, but that is a conversation best had somewhere else.
The track itself is potentially going to be Formula One’s fastest ever street track, and the average lap speed is set to be in the region of 250 km/h. It will probably produce races akin to that seen at Baku, which often causes a bit of carnage. That said, the lack of heavy braking zones could hinder the race and make it a bit of a dull one.
The Jeddah Street Circuit may only host a couple of races, with a potential move to a new permanent track in Qiddiya being on the cards in the next two or three years.
These are the three extra tracks that are set to be included in F1 2021. Unfortunately, they will not become available until after its release on 16 July, which is understandable, perhaps, given their late addition to the official calendar, and one of them not even being built yet.
Even so, it’s not ideal for the officially licensed F1 game to start without three tracks, two of which have already hosted their 2021 Grand Prix. Despite that, it is going to be fascinating to see how they have been replicated in F1 2021.