F1 2020 Winter Testing: First test results provide platform for new game

The season starts this week, and there is plenty to learn about the new game for the eagle-eyed.

Toby Durant by Toby Durant
f1 2020 winter testing

The car launches are done, and the new Formula One season has started! The teams are now in Barcelona for the first week of winter testing.

This week will give us our first data points on the championship fight. Can Ferrari and Red Bull finally provide a true challenge to Mercedes? Will Renault or McLaren be able to battle their way up to the top three? Can Williams get themselves off the back row?

NOW WATCH BELOW: Keep up-to-date with everything F1 2019 and F1 2020!
 

What it also gives us, is the first indication of how fast teams will be in the new Codemasters game.

F1 2020 isn’t expected to drop until at least June, but Codemasters will use last seasons form together with early-season performance to build their performance models for F1 2020.

So winter testing will give us a lot of info about what to expect from the new game, starting with how the cars look.

Liveries

alpha tauri f1 2020 livery
FRESH: Welcome to your F1 2020 career mode team

Nearly every car has had its official launch, with the usual mixed bag of results.

The big three of Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull have hardly touched their designs. There is a splash of red on the Mercedes thanks to a new sponsor, but otherwise they will look very similar to last year.

READ MORE: F1 2020: Formula 2 needs to be fully integrated

The biggest differences come behind them, where several teams have stepped outside the box to design their 2020 challenger.

Alpha Tauri, formerly Toro Rosso, led the way with radical differences. They unveiled a new dark blue and white look.

Meanwhile, Haas has gone back to an old design, while Renault teased an all-black edition of their car.

How these cars look on track will go a long way to deciding which team players join in career mode.

Performance & career mode

The full R&D tree of Renault in F1 2019
R&D: Where will each team start the year in F1 2020?

It is always hard to decypher winter testing performance. Fuel loads, engine modes, and spec combinations are all total unknowns, but there will be keys out there.

Things like apex speed and laps completed will give us an indication of how teams will perform in the upcoming season.

Last year, Codemasters built the game expecting less front downforce due to rule changes, only for the teams to find their way into even more performance than in 2018 and they had to make a day one patch to correct the handling model.

A surprise that big is unlikely in F1 2020, but the British developers will be keeping an eye on the aerodynamic, chassis, and engine performance of all the cars.

READ MORE: F1 2020 career mode: R&D, team orders, driver transfers & more

This trio of variables is what makes up your R&D tree in F1 career mode, and so impacts in-game performance the most. Red Bull have excellent chassis and aero packages, but fall behind in engine power. Will the same power hierarchy of Ferrari-Mercedes-Renault-Honda exist in F1 2020, or will the order change?

Winter testing will help us know which teams to gun for titles in, and which will be the “road to glory” quests for the more dedicated gamers.

F1 2020 Winter Testing schedule & how to watch

First Test, Day 1: Wednesday February 19, 0900 local time start, 1800 local time finish (0800-1700 GMT)

First Test, Day 2: Thursday February 20, 0900 local time start, 1800 local time finish (0800-1700 GMT)

First Test, Day 3: Friday February 21, 0900 local time start, 1800 local time finish (0800-1700 GMT)

Second Test, Day 1: Wednesday February 26, 0900 local time start, 1800 local time finish (0800-1700 GMT)ADVERTISING

Second Test, Day 2: Thursday February 27, 0900 local time start, 1800 local time finish (0800-1700 GMT)

Second Test, Day 3: Friday February 28, 0900 local time start, 1800 local time finish (0800-1700 GMT)

Every session will be screened live in the UK by Sky Sports on its dedicated F1 channel.

Toby Durant

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