There are times when the racing in F1 is the most exciting sport in the world, but sometimes it can be pretty boring with no action, however that’s the nature of the sport. Codemasters have managed to capture the excitement of the F1 race weekend in F1 2018, with some excellent changes.
All the main changes of F1 2018 are in the excellent career mode, after creating you character, by choosing a face, race helmet and filling out your personal details you’ll get a chance to choose which team you want to race for. Choosing a team like Ferrari will see you having expectations from your team that you’ll go out and win every race, where choosing teams lower down the pecking order will have more relaxed targets for you.
As you join your team, you’ll immediately have your team partner become your rival, in my case I’m trying to better the soon to be ex-F1 driver Fernando Alonso, post better times in sectors, practice laps, qualifying and the race and you’ll earn points towards winning that rivalry, ultimately it doesn’t really come to anything but it’s a nice mini challenge to take on as you race.
Off the track you’ll notice the R&D tree has been refined, you’ll work with the four different departments on your team to identify improvements for you car and if you have enough points to use, the teams will work on getting it on to your vehicle for the next race, these points are earned through racing well and helping the team during the practice sessions. The R&D has been streamlined this year and is much easier to understand.
Each Session will give you time to acclimatise with the track but you’ll also be able to take part in exercises that help you as well as the team. You’ll have the opportunity to manage your tyre wear, hit the optimal apexes on corners or work on your race strategy. They are challenging but well worth it.
During the season you’ll now be stopped for interviews by a fairly robotic news crew, you answer will either improve or reduce the morale of one of your departments, or will highlight whether you are a bit of a showman or a more sportsmanlike character. This affects what other teams think of you when it comes to negotiating contracts, but other than that I didn’t really notice a different to way things panned out for me.
Codemasters have done an amazing job to make the racing entertaining, if you have a racing wheel then I’d advise you to use it, especially if you have all the assists off, you’ll want to be able to manage the MFD to keep your car going, it can be done with a controller, it’s just slightly more fiddly. The game will look after you if you want assistance, showing you where to turn and how fast you need to take the corners, it can also help with braking, getting you into the pit stop and even managing the new ERS deployment, which was introduced last year but in this year’s title you can manually manage it. If you learn to control it properly it can make all the difference in qualifying or the race itself, but it takes a little getting used to.
Another change to the cars this year is the introduction of the Halo, I was intrigued to see how much visibility the drivers lost, it’s well worth driving a race from the drivers eye view to get an appreciation. F1 2018 also see the return of Hockenheim and France’s circuit Paul Richard, which is a fantastic place to race, it was nice having to learn a new track have pretty much memorised the circuits from through the years.
During races drivers seem more aggressive, they are much more keen to take you at corners and put you under pressure much more during races. During my China race, I was in control during the rain, but towards the end as my tyres started to go, I had Daniel Ricciardo breathing down my neck until the very final turn, it made for a really exciting race.
Between races you’ll occasionally get invites to special Invitational races, where you will eat to compete in some classic F1 cars. You’ll take part in time trials and passing challenges, it’s a nice break from preparing for the next weekend.
I’ve really enjoyed F1 2018, there is enough changes that make it worth picking up for fans of the series. With the new tracks, liveries and updates to the game modes it keeps things fresh and I look forward to even more improvements for the next title.