F1 2019 broke the mold for the Codemasters franchise. It is the first F1 game to feature driver transfers in career mode. At each contract negotiation, the player takes part in there is a chance that other drivers may move from team to team, with a bigger chance at the end of the season.
The intent was to bring F1 games more in line with other sports franchises, that allow superstar players to move clubs in the transfer windows, meaning you can put Leo Messi on Manchester United or Tom Brady on the Dallas Cowboys. Now you can go through your career and see Sebastian Vettel in Mercedes or Lewis Hamilton at Red Bull.
This is a terrific addition, but it should only be the start of Codemasters' career mode revolution. What else do they need to add in future years?
Driver development & regression
Every other sports game takes age into account. Players retire, their stats decline with age, or improve as young stars gain experience. That doesn't happen in F1 games. Despite being 39 years old at the start of your F1 2019 career, Kimi Raikkonen will still be there should you reach season 10, racing along at the ripe old age of 49.
That just doesn't make any logical sense, and neither does the fact that Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel will still be the best drivers on the grid, while Lando Norris and George Russell toil away in the midfield.
Of course, Hamilton appears to be a historically quick driver and not every young promising driver makes it to the front of the grid, but at some point Norris' pace should surpass that of an aging Hamilton. All the greats had to step away at some point due to a loss of pace, and at some point the new generation will arrive.
F1 games need to have a more fluid driver pace range, with the young guns improving as the older drivers drop off toward the back of the grid and ideally step aside for new racers...
The addition of the F2 series, both the 2018 & now 2019 championship, have been received extremely well by the F1 gaming community. They provide a different challenge for players with the reduced aerodynamic grip creating tail-happy cars that can race closer than your typical F1 car.
With the addition of these series and seasons comes a whole host of new drivers. The 2018 season of course includes the likes of Russell and Norris who entered F1 in 2019, while the 2019 season includes the late Anthoine Hubert and Mick Schumacher, son of the legendary champion Michael Schumacher.
Those drivers are stuck in their series though, unable to progress to F1, as is the aim for everyone racing in F2. Future F1 games need to not only keep the F2 series, but link it up to the career mode and allow the likes of Mick Schumacher or Nyck de Vries to progress into F1.
Maybe Ferrari would replace Sebastian Vettel with Schumacher, or Williams promotes Nicholas Latifi when they lose George Russell to a bigger team.
2020 will see serious changes to the F1 calendar as three new circuits play host to the F1 circus. This is especially welcome to gamers, who have only had the addition of Circuit Paul Ricard in recent years.
We have previously argued that this makes F1 2020 the perfect time to introduce "classic tracks" back to the game. But even if Codemasters can't or won't do that, they should make the calendar more flexible.
This year saw the USA and Mexican races swap places on the calendar, and we have seen Bahrain, Russia, and even Abu Dhabi move around in previous years. Wouldn't it be great if the season finale was at a rainy Paul Ricard? What if you could start the season in Brazil? It would help break up the repetition that can crush racers later on in career mode.