GRID was released last week to much praise from ourselves and the video gaming review community as a whole.
There is a wide array of cars to choose from, one of which is a classic Formula 1 car. The Renault R26 is on offer to all who play GRID and is an absolute beast to pilot.
This is the car that powered Fernando Alonso to his second F1 driver’s title in 2006, winning eight of that year’s eighteen races at the hands of Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella. It was also the first championship-winning F1 car after the switch to V8’s, but it’s no slouch, lapping almost as rapidly as the V10 monsters that came before it.
Coincidentally, the R26 is also available in another of Codemasters’ games, F1 2019, the official game of the 2019 F1 season.
With that in mind, we had an idea, to test out this car in both games and see how it compares. With these games being produced under the same roof, you think they’d be nearly identical…
READ MORE: GRID 2019 – Everything you need to know
The Renault R26 Test
F1 2019 and GRID only share 1 circuit, so Silverstone was the only option we had available to us for this test. However, Silverstone is a great circuit to use for a comparison, as it’s a F1 track and has a mix of high and low speed corners.
To make any differences we see purely about the handling mechanics of the two games, the weather conditions were set to dry and sunny. The setups of both cars were made to be as close to one another as possible, although there are some discrepancies that we’ll get into later.
We allowed 10 laps in Time Trial in F1 2019 and the same number of laps for a solo race in GRID (effectively a time trial) to get the fastest lap possible. Obviously, laps that are invalidated for corner cutting and track extending won’t be allowed to keep things fair.
Differences in Stats & More
In terms of overall lap time, there really wasn’t much to choose between the two games. On F1 2019, I managed a 1:30.612 and in GRID, a 1:30.659, just under half a tenth difference, which is a fraction even by Formula 1’s standards. Although, if you break down the sector times, you’ll notice some stark differences.
The first sector of Silverstone is largely flat-out in F1 2019, but you have to lift more in corners like Turn 1 in GRID, and this is reflected in the times, GRID is 2.3 seconds down on F1. However, the R26 is 8.1 seconds faster in sector 2 than F1 2019, you can go through Copse-Maggots-Beckets-Chapel at over 200 mph (320 kph) which is absolutely thrilling. The opposite is true in the final sector, F1 is 5.9s faster than GRID, the chicane is painfully slow in GRID.
The reason behind these differences in sector times is in part down to the massive straight-line speed of the Renault in GRID. Down the Hangar Straight, the longest on the circuit, there’s a 30 mph (48 kph) difference in top-end speed, that’s a monumental gap! However, there is a logical explanation for this.
The setups in GRID are much simpler compared to F1 2019, anybody that has seen our setup guides for F1 2019 will know how in depth and important they are to a having a successful session. In F1 2019, there are six different categories of settings to modify, ranging from wing angles for the aerodynamics to tyre pressures. However, because of the nature of GRID adopting a more arcade-racer philosophy, there isn’t that depth available regarding setup.
The R26 in GRID feels as though it’s the R26 in F1 2019 but with the wings turned down to Monza-spec, the lowest levels you’ll find on the F1 game. Because of this, to be fast, you have to slide the car through the corners, a driving style that isn’t part of modern F1.
Some may say that’s unrealistic, and that’s true, but overtaking is extremely difficult in Formula 1, but with this handling style in GRID it will make the game much more exciting to play in the game’s short races. Honestly, I had far more fun driving the R26 in GRID than F1 2019, the speed you can take some of Silverstone’s corners is awesome.
Full onboard laps
So you can see what the laps look like, we’ve uploaded both to this article, each corner is taken differently in both games, despite the lap times being almost identical.