F1 2020 Gameplay, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Codemasters did not host an event this year to discover the F1 series’ annual opus, and we had to settle for a demo that was rather sparse in content. With a handful of tracks (including the season’s novelties like Hanoi and Zandvoort) and two game modes available, we didn’t expect much. What a mistake! Even with this sparse glimpse, Codemasters managed to put a hype on us. In addition, as the coronavirus continues to spread to the population, the 2020 F1 season has not yet started, and therefore the game will likely be the only solution to enjoy the championship, or at least what it should have been.
For now, it is difficult to see how the FOA will keep 15 or 18 GPs in a half-season (at best) while limiting travel to the 4 corners of the world. It also seems that the governing bodies are thinking of organizing general practitioners on European circuits that were not on the calendar (Imola, Hockenheim, or even Portimao). You will understand that some meetings are unlikely to take place, and therefore the game will be the only solution to experience this Grand Prix, be it F1 season or F2.
THE FACE OF F1
Just like last year, Codemasters thought of all fans and therefore integrated the full season of F2 in addition to F1, but also several historical events that we could not try out during this preview. Official driver’s license required all drivers and all cars are identical to reality, with a few minor details. To comply with the law prohibiting cigarette advertising (Evin Law in France), the “Mission Winnow” logo (which hides tobacco giant Philip Morris) is removed from the sides of the Ferrari SF 1000, and combinations of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel (who will leave the Scuderia next year, the official news fell this morning).
After this detail, everything seems identical to reality, from the cars’ FIA homologation plate to the drivers’ faces. Although the modeling of the pilots has been more than arbitrary until then, the developers seem to have finally become aware of the problem. Now we recognize every driver at first glance, be it F1 stars or F2 drivers (including the late Anthoine Hubert, who died in 2019 but is present under the playable drivers in tribute title ). Even the stable managers now have a face that no longer panics and you can easily spot Binotto, Wolff, or Abiteboul. Obviously, this attention didn’t go to the spectators, nor to the mechanics who operate in our chest, and some seem to come straight out of the Grévin Museum with their faces on.
A BETTER TIRE
If the campaign was absent from our demo, we could still participate in classic GPs even though it was still not possible to trigger all the test sessions. The first major innovation concerns the temperature management of tires. So far, the series has been giving the temperature of each tire as a whole, and we had to settle for this value to know if we made the right tire choice or if we were too aggressive with our tires. F1 2020 now gives us two different values.
The first value corresponds to the temperature of the tread (which will rise very quickly if we slip or skate), while the second gives the temperature in the heart of the tire (more stable, which conditions the expansion of the air and the allows to know the pressure to inflate the tire for optimal performance). With these measurements, the tests become even more important and the specialists will be able to fine-tune their car even more, as the impact of the tire pressure will be very large.
In fact, tire pressure that is too low will deteriorate extremely quickly, while tire pressure that is too high will reduce the contact area with the ground, turning our racing car into a real soap that cannot be controlled. To stay flat on the ground, you also have to rely on the aerodynamics and the numerous support surfaces that single-seaters can offer. If management has not changed since the previous installments, the damage system appears to have been further refined and the slightest contact can now be disastrous. The front wing, in particular, is much more sensitive, now with a deterioration of the leading edge when mowing the lawn orbiting certain vibrators.
Fortunately, in case of a problem, we can always change the nose of the car during a pit stop at the request of the voice, via the PC microphone. Speech recognition is still as rich and effective as long as it speaks English. However, this system is very welcome as we will be spending a lot of time in the different menus of our F1 wheel, even during a race. As always, we can change the brake distribution on the fly, switch between the different motor cards, navigate between the operating modes of the ERS (Energy Recovery System, the car’s hybrid system) and of course switch the wear panel of the car and its parts, in the temperature table (engine, brakes, tires).
Since this was all too simple, F1 2020 adds a brand new button that players should tame: the “Overtake” button. As with the real F1, by pressing this button we will be able to temporarily turn on the electrical system to the maximum, have extra power to scratch Verstappen in the straight line, and have enough progress so that it does not hit us the next corner by “defending your position”. We will avoid the same kind of behavior, with the marshals taking the punishments fairly quickly if we are a little too deceitful on the track.