The career mode for F1 games has often been a mixed bag for players. In F1 2006 it was a grueling challenge that only a brave few worked through. In F1 2017 it was an easy ride in the top cars and a disastrous slog in the McLaren.
F1 2018 struck a good balance with its team-unique R&D trees and the progress of slower cars up to the front of the grid. However, some players found it pretty easy to take Sauber or Williams to the front, winning the championship in season 2 and practically finishing up any need to play career mode.
One thing that F1 games have been lacking is a journey to Formula 1 itself. In FIFA you can start your career at a lower league side and work your way up to being a star at Manchester United, in F1 games you can jump straight into a Ferrari or Mercedes and dominate from the get go. That could be about to change and fans could finally find the extra gameplay and longevity that they want.
Formula 2 Championship
For the first time ever a junior series will be added to an F1 game, with the 2018 Formula 2 season being in the game from launch. Since it is the 2018 season this means you will be competing in F2 with the likes of Lando Norris, George Russell, and Alex Albon, before getting promoted into F1 with them to compete in the F1 2019 season.
"We’re also extremely excited to be bringing the FIA Formula 2 Championship to the franchise. It’s consistently been one of the most requested features from our community and it comes at a perfect time with the top three drivers from 2018 in George Russell, Lando Norris and Alexander Albon progressing to F1® for this season. We can’t wait to unveil more details on how this is integrated into the career mode in the coming weeks.”
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This is a spectacular addition to the F1 series from Codemasters and brings another level of realism to career mode. F2, and GP2 as it used to be, has produced some superb drivers. Nico Rosberg was the series inaugural champion in 2006 and was succeeded by Lewis Hamilton. Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean have won it, as did Pierre Gasly. It became F2 in 2017 when Charles Leclerc claimed victory and last season was won by George Russell. In 2019 Mick Schumacher and Giuliano Alesi are using it as the final step in following their fathers into Formula 1.
Now you can start your F1 journey as they did, by testing your mettle in F2 with more even cars in a 12-weekend, 24-race series that can often produce more wheel-to-wheel action than F1 does.
Later in the year the 2019 F2 season will get patched into the game, meaning that the likes of Mick Schumacher will be available to compete against too.
Defeat your rivals
After making a big deal about "making headlines" in F1 2018, this years offering from Codemasters seems to be focused on "defeat your rivals". The addition of the classic Senna-Prost rivalry seems to be bleeding into this F2 aspect of the game, where you can come up with Russell, Norris, and Albon and craft the kind of rivalry that will last for your whole career.
In F1 2018 the rivalries system was a nice step forward but still lacked some kind of investment. You could pick your rival but the reward of defeating them within the season was minimal. Hopefully with this clear focus Codemasters will be able to integrate a more serious rivalry aspect into F1 2019's career mode.
The news doesn't end there either, as Codemasters will be making the F2 cars playable online much like they do with the classic cars they have previously released. It seems like Codemasters are making a remarkable push with their online content this year, with the introduction of custom liveries for online races as well as adding this functionality to something that so easily could have been career mode exclusive.
The longevity of F1 games has often been an issue for fans, but with the addition of F2 and the online functionality of the cars this game looks like it will have a remarkably long shelf life for players of all abilities.