It is fair to say that F1 2020 was one of, if not the best, release thus far in the Formula One game cycle.
One of the biggest additions was My Team, in which the player could create their own team, drive for it, choose their teammate, car development path, and much more. We also got new tracks in Zandvoort and Hanoi, the Schumacher classic cars, and just a fantastic overall experience.
However, all good things must come to an end, and F1 2021 is just over a month away from jumping F1 2020 as the current F1 game. While things have been great for the past year, there are still things that we want to see.
So, in this list, we will go through all of the top things that we want to see in the new Formula One game.
Update the tracks to make them accurate
This comes off of the back of rumours that F1 2021 won’t feature the updated Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, nor will it have the Spanish Grand Prix’s new Turn 10 either.
Now, Albert Park can be forgiven: the changes to the track have been confirmed late on, and the race might not take place at all. However, the Turn 10 changes at Aramco Gran Premio de España are much less dramatic and were known for longer.
If this isn’t implemented, then it will just look a bit lazy on Codemasters’ part. Plus, does anyone want a track from the real-life season that doesn’t match the game’s simulation? Probably not.
Include more modern classic cars
Another rumour flying around is that F1 2021 won’t have any classic cars at all. This is partly down to the F1 team focussing on the new Braking Point game mode. If classic cars do return, though, it would be nice to see some more modern classics.
How about a 2014 Williams FW36 from the first year of the hybrid era? Early F1 releases of the hybrid era cars didn’t allow us to play with the Energy Recovery System (ERS), but now, we would be able to.
Or perhaps the Red Bull RB9, Sebastian Vettel’s last title-winning Red Bull? This car dominated the 2013 season, and it’d be great to get your hands on the car in a heavily updated game. If there aren’t any classic cars at all, however, this would be a significant loss to the experience.
Introduce double-stack pit stops
For whatever reason, the pit crews in the F1 games have not been able to deal with you or your teammate pitting on the same lap, even if you are around ten seconds behind them. The pit crew dither for about three seconds before even getting to work on your car.
Double-stacks are a part of Formula One, and Mercedes performed one as recently as the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Something relatively minor like this being added would add a whole new element to races, potentially handing a nice advantage to you and your teammate if it’s done right.
If implemented, it should allow some margin. For example, if you’re six seconds behind, a double-stack is possible, but within that time frame, it’s going to be a delay.
Make the AI more intelligent
While the AI was, quite frankly, brilliant in F1 2020, there were times when the computer-controlled elements felt a bit lethargic.
They would often reactively defend your overtake attempts and not be proactive to anticipate what you were doing. Plus, if you had your car well alongside in a corner, they would sometimes just turn into you – even if you had pretty much pulled the overtake.
That said, they are aggressive enough and can make their own passes. So now, the AI needs just a bit more brain to go with the brawn. If that can be done, it might make us players think more tactically about overtaking those in front of us.
Enhance the existing rain effects
The rain effects in F1 2020 were superb, but it all felt a bit too shiny and clinical. Early previews from F1 2021, however, seem to show much more realistic rain effects, with different patches of wet track to more closely resemble what drivers experience in real life.
Again, it’s not something that is ground-breaking, but it’s a change that would really help to improve the overall experience in the upcoming game.
Adjusted safety cars and red flags
In F1 2020, we would often find that a major accident either wouldn’t result in the safety car coming out, or would just release the virtual safety car. Yet, a mere breakdown with a driver well out of the way could cause a standard safety car.
The safety car system needs to be tweaked so that it can recognise when a major incident has occurred. Also, if the crash is bad enough, perhaps the addition of red flags – not seen in the game since at least F1 2014 – would be a great idea, and they could really throw a curveball into races.
Allow for more exciting driver transfers
Driver transfers were a welcome addition to F1 2019, and they returned in 2020. However, while there were times that the transfers could be a bit too crazy in 2019, they often felt somewhat mundane in 2020.
Some players would see drivers like Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton stay with Mercedes for the whole Career Mode. So, let’s have some more spice.
Get Sebastian Vettel into a Mercedes, Fernando Alonso in a Ferrari, or even Mick Schumacher in a Red Bull! It would keep things much more interesting as you transition into each new season.
Improved engine sounds
While there isn’t any question that the engine sounds in F1 2020 – and almost certainly in F1 2021 – are superb, they often feel a bit flat compared to some other racing sims.
In Assetto Corsa, for example, the RSS Formula Hybrid mods have fantastic sounds that are very lifelike. The sounds in the F1 games, particularly on replay cameras, just seem a bit level and quiet.
How they could change that we don’t know, but if it can be done by a small modding team, surely Codemasters, with the might of EA now behind them, can produce something similar.
Have a custom calendar option
With the 2020 F1 season being massively affected by the pandemic, resulting in it having just 17 races, Codemasters allowed us to run a shortened 16-race season in the game. That will probably make a return in F1 2021, but why not go one step further?
Let’s have it so that we can choose how many races we run, be it 16, 17 or 22, and then have the option to organise our own calendars. Why not flip it so that we can start in Abu Dhabi and finish, in 2021’s instance, in Bahrain? Or, start at Silverstone and end in Imola.
Having an option of bespoke calendars would produce some truly unique seasons, adding yet another layer to the experience and another reason to keep running new saves.
Greatly improve the penalty system
Even now, the penalty system is terrible. If the AI runs into you or turns into you, more often than not, you get a penalty. Playing F1 2020, if we out-braked ourselves and went through an escape road, we would get a penalty despite slowing down and losing a place.
The penalty system must be more intelligent, recognise that we have slowed down or lost a place, and it has to be able to determine who has collided with whom. Giving someone a three-second penalty for gingerly going through Monza’s escape slalom at turn one isn’t good enough.
There isn’t any doubt that F1 2021 will have many good points, but there are some things that do need to be changed to make it the best F1 game yet.
The rumours of inaccurate tracks and a lack of classic cars probably isn’t a great start, but Codemasters do have the capacity to make things great. The new Braking Point feature might be the headline grabber, but let’s hope that doesn’t mean that other areas of the game have been sacrificed as a result.
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