F1 2018 has a more involved career mode than ever. With post-race interviews and dynamics like team morale and contact negotiations, it is the best career mode we have been given in years. Codemasters have handed us a huge range of options within career mode. Each team has unique R&D trees for each department, and it's extremely easy to get fired outright if you over-promise and under-deliver. How can you get the most out of your career mode?
Maximising Resource Points
The easiest path to success, outside of lowering the AI level to its lowest setting, is to keep developing the car at every available opportunity. The car you start your career with will be drastically slower than the time trial version, and the only way to keep ahead or catch up to the competition is through relentless development.
Earning Resource Points and spending them on improving the performance and durability of your car is key. To earn the most Resource Points possible you need to makes sure that you meet your contract goals, participate in every session, and ace the practice programs.
It can get dull constantly repeating the track acclimatisation or ERS management program, but it's also very useful in helping you learn tracks you aren't confident around and can show you where you can maximise fuel saving or save some life in your tyres. It also provides a hefty return of Resource Points that can very quickly turn your car into a contender.
When spending Resource Points in your R&D tree you should have a plan. Do you want to find more straight line speed? Does your driving style mean you need a more productive aerodynamic package?
The best plan to have is simply to create a well-rounded car that can perform well at every circuit. If you start with Red Bull or Toro Rosso, you should invest in the powertrain and bring that up to the level of your rivals as quickly as possible.
Force India's weakness is in the chassis and aero departments so invest your Resource Points there in order to make a car that has no weakness and can narrow the gap to the top three. If you just continuously plough your points into one department, you will get left behind in other areas and have a car that just doesn't perform at some circuits.
When plotting a path through the "fog of war" that covers the development tree try to avoid dead-end branches that only contain minor upgrades. They are a relative drain on Resource Points that can be better spent down branches that may lead to a major or even ultimate upgrade, which create the most dramatic improvement to performance.
You also shouldn't ignore the Efficiency and Quality Control parts of R&D. New parts will fail at a frustrating rate if you don't invest in Quality Control, and the price will soon spiral if the department isn't efficient. If you are really taking a long-term approach to your career mode then these aspects of R&D are vital.
You can re-negotiate your contract at several points throughout the season, and you should always try and keep it as close to your value as possible. The quicker you build your value the more you can ask for at negotiations, and the more Resource Points you can collect from race weekends. Not only that, but you can reduce the time it takes for new parts to be developed and improve department capacity, allowing you to get multiple parts per department underway at the same time.
You get three strikes to negotiate your contract each time it's up, so start big and see what you can get, but make sure you pull back if they don't accept your terms immediately. You can always pick up more perks at a later date if you continue to impress your team.
One issue with modern F1 is the limited number of parts you have for your power unit. There are six components in total, and you only get two MGU-K, Energy Store, and Control Electronics components for the whole year. Ordering an extra part comes with grid penalties, and inevitably, at some point you will have to take extra ones.
This means you need a strategy for when and where you should do it. If you have a track that you consistently struggle at, say Monaco for example, then order up some new parts for that race and accept your raft of penalties for that weekend knowing you were going to do badly anyway.
Conversely, if there is a track you know you absolutely dominate the computer on then use it to take a fresh Internal Combustion Engine or other part, knowing that you can put the car on pole and quickly regain your penalty places.
Timing your penalties just right can help keep your wear down and leave you with relatively fresh units towards the end of the year, especially useful for tracks like Mexico and USA that are particularly power hungry.