F1 2020 Career Mode: R&D changes confirmed by Codemasters

We are all familiar with R&D in F1 games, but Codemasters could be changing the formula this year.

Toby Durant by Toby Durant
f1 2020 career mode

Formula 1 is looking to make a behind-closed-doors return in July, just as F1 2020 is set to hit the shelves.

For years, the Codemasters game franchise has been tweaking and refining it’s most consistent game mode, career mode.

Last year’s was a triumph, with an added story element, driver transfers, and a better-than-ever racing experience.

But that doesn’t mean Codemasters are standing still, as Game Director Lee Mather explained in an interview with Red Bull Gaming.

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Career mode still getting attention despite My Team

The addition of My Team, a game mode where you operate the 11th team on the F1 grid, caught the eye of everyone when it was announced.

However, it came with the worry that the bread-and-butter of career mode would be ignored this year. Mather has put that to rest.

Changes to driver moves

With the inclusion of My Team and driver market, we’ve brought a similar system to the Driver Career.” he explained in his interview. “As part of the driver market, you’ll be competing with all other drivers around you to get the best seat you can, at the best price.”

READ MORE: F1 2020 Beta: How to sign-up and play early!

In F1 2019 you could struggle at the back and still jump into the Mercedes or Ferrari if you wanted to when it came time to re-do your contract. It looks like that is a thing of the past.

Sebastian Vettel for Mercedes in F1 2019
HOW BIZARRE: Driver transfers took some getting used to

You’ll have to earn your seat in any car this year. The mention of price is also an interesting one. Can we earn some cash this year? Or will we have to price ourselves out of some seats and into others?

R&D is changing

This is perhaps the biggest nugget of information from the interview with regards to career mode.

“We’ve also made some adjustments to how the R&D system works.”

There isn’t a lot to go on, but a change is usually good in the Codemasters F1 games.

Renault F1 2019 career mode
GOODBYE R&D TREE?: Will the changes include less driver choice?

For years the system has been the same. Earn resource points through practice programs and races to buy the next upgrade on your Aerodynamics, Chassis, or Powertrain path.

Recently unique development trees for each team was bought in, along with a fog of war to hide the future from you. But the process has largely been the same. What could we see next?

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Trust your team

F1 drivers rarely have a direct hand in the way a car develops. They might report a lack of downforce or poor power delivery, but they can’t dive into the factory and demand a new front wing design.

READ MORE: Virtual Dutch GP: Format, race, drivers, predicted grid

It would be nice to get a “debrief” session, like we see in Netflix’s Drive To Survive, were we can report our issues with the car to the team and trust them to find a solution.

Roll of the dice

New parts don’t always work. F1 games replicate that by having the part “fail” and not getting put on the car at all.

f1 2020 haas
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2019 saw the Haas team get entirely lost in their development, going back and forth between different specs depending on the race weekend and what the drivers complained about.

This might be a tough too realistic for some, but having a new part come on the car and cause a loss of pace or increase in tyre wear would be amazing.

READ MORE: F1 2020 Pre-order: Price, consoles, PC & more

To have that sense that progress is not guaranteed and the road forward can be hard would up the reward factor when you do eventually get to the top.

Whatever it is Codemasters have planned, we can’t wait to try it out.

Toby Durant