F1 2020 Career Mode: R&D, team orders, driver development, promotion, & what we want to see

Team orders, retirements, R&D changes... There is a whole world of changes possible this year.


F1 2020 career mode

Career mode is the bread and butter for F1 gamers. While online races may be more thrilling, jumping into season after season and taking a backmarker to the front is an experience like no other in gaming.

F1 2019’s career mode was a triumph for Codemasters. It offered driver transfers for the first time ever, allowing you to see Sebastian Vettel in a Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton in a Ferrari. The R&D system meant every season was different, with some teams falling like a stone while others rose to the top.

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But it wasn’t perfect. There are a number of things we want to see from the F1 2020 career mode.

R&D challenges

The Abu Dhabi F1 2018 practice program
SAME: The practice programs have been the same for a while now

The R&D system has certainly improved in recent years, with team-specific trees and a fog-of-war obscuring your future plans. However, it has been too easy to develop your car into a world-beater.

The first season can see you take a backmarker into the points, and then in season two you can walk to a championship like the second coming of Mercedes. The longevity and challenge just isn’t there.

Failure rates and seasonal “rule changes” help somewhat, but either the AI development needs to be improved or the player development needs some nerfing.

READ MORE: Every F1 2019 setup guide

A new way of earning resource points, or simply lowering the available ones from practice programs, would add another level to the game.

Whatever it is, the longevity of career mode ultimately comes down to the rate at which you can earn resource points and out-develop your opponents. It is possible to create an elite team in such a short window that races no longer become competitive, and that needs to change.

Driver development, promotion, & retirement

Sebastian Vettel wins for Mercedes in F1 2019
UNTHINKABLE: F1 2019 allowed driver transfers for the first time ever

The current career mode is 10 seasons long. That should be 10 years of growth, development, movement, and importantly – retirement.

F1 2019 scratched the surface of this in two important ways. Driver transfers allowed the younger pilots at the back of the grid to move into faster cars and the introduction of F2 created a whole new stable of drivers in the game.

F1 games currently do not have any aging process for their drivers. There is no decline and retirement for older racers like in FIFA, instead they stay in the sport forever, only getting displaced to make way for you.

READ MORE: RealOpinions – How F1 2019 can keep players engaged?

F1 2020 needs to take the realism stakes higher and have drivers that decline and depart. It makes no sense for Kimi Raikkonen to still be there in year eight of your career or for Lewis Hamilton to still be the fastest man on the grid.

Even Michael Schumacher declined and retired. And if he does, why not the others?

Bringing in a system whereby young drivers improve with experience and older ones fall away into retirement, to be replaced by F2 drivers getting promoted would open up the F1 universe.

Team orders

The Alfa Romeo Sauber team in F1 2019
TEAM ORDERS: A major thread of the real season, Codemasters should include them

These are an inevitable result of having two cars on track driven by racers that want to win above all else.

the 2019 season once again highlighted the importance of a team having an understanding with their drivers to take care of each other and not end the race in the wall.

READ MORE: Codemasters extend F1 game partnership

Bringing team orders into career mode would add another level of realism and force tough decisions on the player.

Do you follow the call from your engineer and move aside for your teammate, or keep him behind and risk angering your boss?

If there were resource point fines for ignoring team orders it would create the incentive for you to play nice, even more so if termination were a multi-occasion punishment too.

Calendar changes

NEW TRACK: Zandvoort will be tricky for drivers

The 2020 F1 calendar will feature the biggest changes in a long time as new circuits enter, old ones depart, and one or two move around the list.

Vietnam and the Netherlands come in, while the Brazilian Grand Prix has a new home.

READ MORE: Everything there is to know about F1 2020

This change should be mirrored in F1 2020. The season should start in Australia and end in Abu Dhabi, but in between you could hit Monaco in August or Japan in April.

It would make seasons feel different, and it would be a great way to utilise any additional tracks like San Marino or Turkey that were added to the game too…

Toby Durant

First Console: SNES / Favourite Game: Halo 2 / Currently Playing: Madden 20