F1 2020 Game: Release date, gameplay, My Team, beta, driver market, Virtual GP, driver retirement, R&D, pre-order, deluxe edition, Michael Schumacher & more

What can fans expect from the next instalment of Codemasters’ official Formula 1 game?

Toby Durant by Toby Durant
f1 2020 release date gameplay career mode online

Formula 1 is still absent from our screens, but F1 2020 is on its way to save the day.

With a confirmed release date, a ton of new features, and the promise of featuring regularly in the Twitch streams of F1 drivers, Codemasters’ latest game is set to be the biggest yet.

This is everything you need to know about F1 2020.

Release date

The F1 2019 Ferrari around Bahrain
EARLY: F1 2019 surprised fans with an early release date

F1 2020 will arrive on 10 July.

READ MORE: F1 2020 Deluxe Edition: Will we get Michael Schumacher historic challenges?

This is a little later than last year, but that can be forgiven in the current circumstances.

It will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. There’s also early access available…

Michael Schumacher Deluxe Edition

The iconic seven-time World Drivers’ Champion Michael Schumacher gets the treatment this year from Codemasters as he fronts the Deluxe Edition.

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The deluxe edition will come with three days early access and exclusive content including themed car liveries and driver customisation items, including a unique podium celebration. The four cars included in the F1 2020 Deluxe Schumacher Edition are:

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  • 1991: Jordan 191
  • 1994: Benetton B194
  • 1995: Benetton B195
  • 2000: Ferrari F1-2000

My Team – be the 11th team on the grid

Codemasters have added My Team as a separate game mode to the outstanding Career Mode.

This gives players the chance to create a brand new team from scratch and dive into a new driver-manager experience that offers a unique insight into the world of F1.

READ MORE: Will F1 2020 be cross-platform?

Players can choose from the original full 22 race season, and shorter 10 and 16 race season options, which now include the brand-new Hanoi Circuit and Circuit Zandvoort.

My Team features

You can pick your #2 driver, your team name and even engine supplier, but what else can you get up to in My Team?

Codemasters have been tight-lipped about what fans can expect, but we know a few things now.

carl f1 2019 game 1
HEY CARL: Can we bring him over to our new team?

Finances and management of resources will be key. You’ll need to attract sponsors and make deals to bring revenue in, and then spend it building facilities, staffing your team, and finding a #2 driver.

Spend too much in one area and others will be lacking.

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You can dive into the all-new driver market to find your #2 driver, which will include current F2 racers like Mick Schumacher.

My Team names

There are endless ways you could go with your My Team name.

From resurrecting an old F1 team like Ligier or Jordan to being a brash energy drink rival to Red Bull or even echoing Brawn GP with Allison Racing…

Which path will you choose?

Gameplay

F1 games offer wheel-to-wheel action
DANGER CLOSE: F1 games have offered better and better action of late

F1 2019’s success came down to very consistent and reliable gameplay. There were no horror-show corners that caught you out unexpectedly or nagging bugs that spoiled the experience.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect improvements though.

The F1 2020 handling model will take a leap forward. Bumps and inconsistencies in the track surface are still tricky to feel and will hopefully force you to take more realistic lines through tracks like Monaco.

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The user interface and HUD are also very busy. The deployment of ERS, changing of engine modes and other settings are very complicated and tricky to do effectively.

Codemasters need to make a decision if they want to leave everything at the drivers fingertips or delegate some decisions, like ERS management, to the pit wall like in real life.

Trailer

We have our first true gameplay trailer!

We get taken around the world from Interlagos to Spa, Monaco, and Melbourne while also getting a glimpse at most of the new liveries on the grid.

The new Alpha Tauri and Haas liveries look amazing, and the driver models and podium have had an upgrade too.

Formula 2 also features heavily which is great.

Career mode

F1 2019 R&D trees are similar to last year
CHANGES: A new R&D mechanic would be good

F1’s bread and butter is career mode. It’s where most players spend their time and provides the best experience for any racing game.

Codemasters have made small tweaks to career mode in recent years, but F1 2019 took a big step forward with the introduction of F2 and a feeder set of races with two rivals that followed you up to F1.

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There wasn’t much beyond that, but it was certainly entertaining and it was surely just the first step in the integration of junior formulae and a full journey to F1.

On the R&D side we are seeing something new, we just don’t know what. Game Director Lee Mather has said that R&D changes are coming though.

Maybe we could even get a standalone F2 career mode that expands on the brief stint you did last year.

Driver retirement & F2 driver promotion

As part of the Driver Market, both in career mode and My Team, we will at last see F1 drivers retire.

That means come season nine of your career mode you shouldn’t still be racing against Hamilton, Raikkonen, & Vettel but instead a whole new grid of current F2 drivers and maybe a few regen names will be sprinkled in for you to go to battle against.!

Multiplayer – Split-screen returns

A tight pack of cars in F1 2019
CAREFUL: Online play has been a staple for F1 games

Online multiplayer has always been something of a minefield of dive-bombs and reckless driving.

There is no legislating for the antics of drivers with a grudge, but hopefully the ghosting system will take a step forward to prevent kamikaze attacks or lapped cars being a pain.

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Codemasters have confirmed that split-screen racing will make a return.

While most multiplayer does take place online, there are still plenty of times when split-screen in wanted. WRC 8, released last year, included split-screen racing and it was a big hit with players.

Online Leagues were solid last year, but there will be improvements with connectivity and lag, while the ability to further customise options would be welcome.

Cross-platform play

The major thing F1 2020 really needs is cross-platform play.

This has become vastly popular with Battle Royale games and allowed them to fill out games of 100+ players.

With the F1 player base split between Xbox, PlayStation, and PC it does get a bit difficult to find full race lobbies and have friends race against each other.There isn’t a reason why F1 2020 could not bring cross-platform play into the series and unite the player bases. It would certainly help fans connect to the real F1 racers with their home PC setups.

Team speed

f1 2020 ferrari drivers

F1 2020 will once again rank the teams from fastest to slowest. Within that ranking for career mode will be three categories: Engine, Chassis, and Aerodynamics.

While some historic performance, like Mercedes’ amazing engine and Red Bull’s brilliant chassis, will be factored in, if winter testing is anything to go by the team performance this year will be vastly different from F1 2019.

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You can see our predictions on the performance levels here, but it’s safe to say Williams won’t be glued to the back this year.

Full 22 tracks included

As the officially licensed F1 game, F1 2020 will mirror the season itself.

Thanks to coronavirus cancelling two races outright, that has let to a lot of worries that F1 2020 will not feature the Monaco Grand Prix.

Thankfully, Codemaster’s F1 director Paul Jeal has confirmed that all 22 circuits that were in the original calendar will be included in F1 2020!

Driver pace

With the addition of driver transfers last year, F1 2019 had the best career mode to date. But there are certainly things that could be improved.

One of those is the evolution of drivers’ pace. While they will start in a fairly accurate order of fastest (Lewis Hamilton) to slowest (probably Nicolas Latifi), it would be great to see that order change over the seasons.

In season four Hamilton should start to slip as Verstappen, Ocon, Russell, and others progress.

Historic drivers, rivalries, & more

Senna v Prost flopped in F1 2019
LET DOWN: The Senna V Prost section was a disappointment in F1 2019

F1 2019 was marketed around the inclusion of Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, and their epic rivalry.

It’s fair to say that this part of the game fell flat, as all we got were some skins, extra classic cars, and some very dull challenges.

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With the Deluxe Edition focused around Michael Schumacher, it looks like Codemasters will be exploring the more recent history of F1.

We already know there will be four cars, the ’91 Jordan, ’94 & ’95 Benettons, and ’00 Ferrari, included with the Deluxe Edition. However, there has been no mention of historic challenges.

Given the wild battles and amazing drives Schumacher had in his career it would be great to see some added to the game.

These are all feasible given the scenario system F1 uses for its esports qualifier events.

DAS

The controversial new steering system debuted by Mercedes at winter testing has been raising a lot of eyebrows. DAS, or “Dual Axis Steering” is activated by pulling the steering wheel toward the driver.

It reduces the toe out of the front wheels when activated down a long straight, helping cool the front tyres, creating less friction and drag which improves performance.

This complicated system is already banned for 2021, so it is unlikely Codemasters will include it in F1 2020.

Classic cars

The iconic Ferrari F2004
ICONIC: Classic cars provide extra content and a lot of memories

Ever since their first inclusion in F1 2013 the classic cars have been a popular and entertaining part of the game. Offering different challenges to drivers they should be included in F1 2020 again.

While Codemasters have reproduced nearly all of the iconic cars in modern F1 history, it would be fantastic to see them include and entire year in the game.

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We have now had confirmed which classic cars will be in the F1 2020 game.

Classic tracks

This is perhaps the one thing fans want over anything else. With two new circuits coming to F1 this year, and the massive rules changes coming in 2021, it is safe to say Codemasters have their hands full at the moment.

F1 says goodbye to Hockenheim in F1 2020
BYE BYE: Unless Codemasters add classic tracks there will be no Hockenheim in F1 2020

However, the addition of new circuits would be a terrific way of extending content for users. Hockenheim is departing F1 this year, but it doesn’t need to leave the game.

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Even a facelift to the F1 2019 version of the track and including it would be a great boost to the longevity of the game.

In an ideal world we would get Imola, Turkey, and classic versions of Silverstone, Hockenheim, and Spa too. Maybe it can be a DLC…

The Formula One season is on hold right now due to the continued global coronavirus issue.

We now know that the Dutch, Spain, and Monaco Grands Prix will be postponed, extending the wait for F1 into June.

That puts F1 right next to the projected release date for the game. This could lead to a huge event for F1 fans.

Next-gen consoles

F1 2020 will be out before the next-gen consoles of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Both will be backwards compatible, so you won’t have to buy F1 2020 a second time to enjoy it on your new console. The PS5 will also have the benefit of a vastly superior controller for all the pad racers out there.

DIRT 5

For you off-road racing fans DIRT 5 has been announced by Codemasters.

The new game will arrive in October 2020 and take players around the world in stunning off-road races.

Toby Durant