With the launch of F1 2021 just around the corner, Codemasters has dropped a brand new launch trailer to tempt gamers into picking up the title.
Leading the trailer is the new feature for 2021: the “Braking Point” story mode. There you’ll race as F1 newbie Aiden Jackson through the trials of being a rookie in the cut-throat world of F1, with Netflix-like dramas around every corner. We’ve played through the first hour of this already, and it’s certainly an interesting diversion.
Of course the meat of the game is the F1 grid from the current season, and the circuits that the F1 circus will head to. This season has already faced similar disruption to last year, and as a result the game will visit some tracks no longer on the calendar — Australia, Canada, and Singapore — while other substitute circuits won’t appear. Imola, Portimao, and the new Jeddah circuit will all come along after launch in free updates.
Also highlighted briefly are the “Legends”. These seven famous drivers from F1 history will form part of the returning My Team mode for those who buy the Digital Deluxe Edition, allowing you to recruit Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, or Michael Schumacher to drive alongside you in your fledgling F1 team.
In addition to the launch trailer, Codemasters has also revealed the driver ratings for the current F1 grid. The driver rating feature is a major component of My Team, as it clues you into which drivers will be best for your outfit — or your budget — as you try to be the best team on the grid.
These ratings are actually dynamic, and change across the real-world season. A driver who has a particularly bad race might drop and become less valuable, while one who performs consistently well will rise in the rankings. The current rankings are as they would stand after the 2021 French Grand Prix, and will be accurate when F1 2021 launches next week.
Ratings consist of four scores — Experience, Racecraft, Awareness, and Pace — which are averaged out to give an overall rating. Pace is weighted more heavily than the others in this calculation, with quicker drivers able to overcome their other stats and end up with a higher rating. Experience is more-or-less a measure of the number of grands prix a driver has raced, with Racecraft and Awareness dealing with overtaking capabilities and frequency of incidents.
There are some unusual scores in there though. Charles Leclerc ranks in the top ten for Experience, ahead of two drivers with more races under their belts and level with Lance Stroll despite racing 20 fewer grands prix. Antonio Giovinazzi’s Experience score is behind Nicholas Latifi, though he’s driven in almost twice as many races.
Reigning world, and seven-time champion Sir Lewis Hamilton has the joint-highest overall score of 95, but it’s curiously tempered by an Awareness score of 89. This is ten points behind his team mate Valtteri Bottas, with a maximum 99 seeming optimistic for the Finn, who hasn’t had the best of seasons and was involved in a 200mph crash at Imola with George Russell.
The top drivers for Racecraft are Max Verstappen — who joins Hamilton with the highest overall score of 95 — and Lando Norris on 96 points apiece. Norris has had a pretty impressive 2021 so far, as the only driver to score points in every round, and once the two races at Austria are considered he should rise a little higher still.
F1 2021 will launch on July 16, or July 13 for those with the Digital Deluxe version pre-ordered, on PC, PlayStation 4/5, and Xbox One/Series.