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The Comprehensive F1 Career Wishlist

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Link to reddit post on r/F1Game: https://www.reddit.com/r/F1Game/comments/n4ufaa/the_comprehensive_f1_career_wishlist/

 

Hello everyone, my name is Jack and I've been playing the F1 games since 2018. Throughout this time I've sunk days into F1's driver career mode, and whilst this has provided much enjoyment, it has also highlighted many areas of improvement to be made and how much unearthed potential lies in this mode. So naturally I have created this post, to comprehensively bring together all my thoughts and ideas for future F1 career modes and hopefully catch the eye of some of Codemasters' developers.

F2/Journey to F1:

The options for the start are nice enough, multiple versions of F2 and the option to jump straight into F1. However, how you perform in these F2 races barely affects your options for F1, you can still just replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes after DNFing every race. We need realistic options here, top performances may open seats at Renault and McLaren, whilst bad performances may force you to sign for either Williams or Haas. Hell maybe even we could introduce an option that you fail to get a seat at all and have to repeat F2, but that may be a bit far. Of course if you really want to replace Hamilton at Mercedes go ahead, but you won’t be able to do so if you choose to participate in F2 first, as that would be unrealistic. Participating in F2 will also void your option to choose your team mate and you will replace the relevant driver on whatever team you join.

R&D/Facilities:

The idea of facilities getting upgraded by the team is nice however it plays a major role in R&D later on in your career. This keeps the pecking order similar to how it starts, and there is no straightforward way for it to be shaken up. It's a positive feedback loop, and the regulation changes don't do enough. Whilst we have the option to develop a part quicker at the risk of it failing, we need the option to invest in risky parts or play it safe with parts that will work. The chances of the risky part working will be slim but if it does it may provide a significant performance increase, think Brawn's double diffuser. These would be available to purchase once or twice a season, with double the amount available for regulation changes. Also regulation changes should be set in stone and teams will be aware of them years in advance.

Naturally if you jump the order in terms of performance your team will unlock new facilities quicker due to increased revenue. R&D will change to a sort of feedback system whereby at the end of each practice session, qualy and race, you will give feedback to your engineer on what needs improving, highlighting which corners you struggled on and any overall impressions. They will transfer this information to the factory who will work on relevant parts. I mentioned previously the addition of risky parts and whatnot but like with standard R&D this would be decided by the team, though encouraged by your feedback.

Drivers & Teams:

Let's talk about drivers and teams. Firstly I don't know what the hell happened in F1 2020 but driver moves are few and far between compared to 2019. However they are nonetheless unrealistic and so is the system for driver ability and the database as a whole. Driver ability is subjective of course and this will always need tweaking but major work is needed on potential. Once drivers reach a certain age they should stop improving, perhaps improving their experience attribute and at a certain point should start declining. A driver’s potential will be a range, set in stone from day 1 and each driver will end up with certain attributes within this range at the peak of their career, this is very similar to how Football Manager deals with potential. Drivers will improve depending on the facilities at their team and how well they perform on track. We also need numerous new attributes such as tyre management, feedback, race starts, wet weather driving, and new traits which will affect how a driver approaches certain scenarios. For example, Kimi will regularly short shift, Vettel will have a preference for rear stability in his cars and Ricciardo will be quite late on the brakes. There’s no limit to how many traits we could introduce for a variety of scenarios, and this will give each driver a noticeable personality on and off the track. We could also introduce favoured and non-favoured tracks for drivers, for example Hamilton should perform slightly above his ability at Hungary.

Drivers from F2 regularly get promoted to F1 but as of now we only have these two databases to work from. I believe we need to introduce generated drivers, who may appear late into a person’s career. These drivers will enter F2 and could make their way to F1, and they could range from basic pay drivers to the next global superstars. As mentioned these will appear late into a person’s career, and I’m proposing that we extend the 10 season limit out to as long as possible. You may be forced to retire after say, 15 years, but after that you could start again as a new driver but utilise the database as it is 15 years later. We will also see academies come into play more, those who sign for Alfa or Haas will be favoured by Ferrari, Red Bull will look to AlphaTauri before replacing their drivers, and speaking of which AlphaTauri need to be established as Red Bull’s proper B team, as in-game they are separate and can sometimes outperform their sister team in terms of R&D. Teams will sign drivers based on a number of conditions, including current ability, potential, sponsorship bonus, marketability, and what role the driver will play in the team (number 1, 2, equal pairing). Certain transfers will be likely from the get-go, i.e Russell replacing Bottas at Mercedes. Also we need drivers outside of F1 and F2 in the database and mix for open seats, examples include Hulkenberg, Kyvat and Albon.

Teams themselves could eventually leave the sport. This will depend on the team of course, Ferrari’s chance of leaving would be zero but someone like Haas may have a small chance of pulling out after a season or two. Ideally these would be replaced by realistic options I think we’d all love to see in real F1 such as Porsche, Audi or Toyota but I don’t think this would be possible because of licensing. But teams would be replaced, and the grid could expand to 11 or even 12 teams in the future. I’m sure Codemasters could just use the MyTeam chassis to cover them. And of course they’ll pick engine suppliers, drivers and have their own unique traits.

Rules:

As I just mentioned new teams could enter your career but we can still add new variables to keep things exciting. At the end of every season, the teams will agree on new rules for next season. Motorsport Manager has a similar system, and each rule is put to a vote. In MyTeam we could participate in these but not in normal driver careers. They would include things such as a point for pole position, changing the qualifying format (sprint, groups, staggered one shot, etc), changing the scoring system, number of practice sessions, changing track layouts for certain races (using Britain, Bahrain, USA or Japan Short), double points for the final race, etc.

Reliability:

This is really one that grinds my gears and quite frankly annoys me that Codemasters haven’t addressed. The only part of our car that can randomly fail is the DRS, which when it does, actually delights me because it’s unexpected and adds to the drama when I’m chasing a car for the lead. We need to introduce the option for random car failures, the chance of a failure occurring will be determined by your team’s reliability performance in R&D and what time of the season it is (retirements tend to happen in the first few races more than the middle ones, they’ll have historical data to go off to tweak this). I’ve raced so many laps to notice that out of the other 19 AI drivers, only a maximum of 2 can have a reliability issue to cause a retirement. That’s absurd, make this natural and allow for total freedom for mechanical issues. Some will force retirement, others will slow you down, perhaps your suspension will break and you’ll go flying off the road, or your brakes will fail and you’ll need to coast into the pits. These failures can happen at any moment and of course are influenced by a number of factors. At this current moment in time, if I'm halfway through a race, everyone has pitted and two drivers have retired from mechanical issues, the only way for me to gain places is weather or pure pace. It's honestly boring and monotonous to know that the result is final halfway through.

Weather:

Another huge aspect of a Grand Prix weekend, the current system is good but needs improvement. There needs to be a much wider grey area between dry and damp, damp and wet and wet and undrivable. Right now we have dry, very rare light rain that is drivable on slicks (I got this once at Brazil for half a race), light rain, heavy rain that is somehow drivable on inters, heavy rain with full wets and a very rare monsoon type rain which once I got at Spa and it triggered a safety car, I like that but it should also potentially trigger a red flag. In reality there are far too little unknowns here, rain rarely changes unless you know it’s going to and track conditions are the same across the entire track. Remember only a couple of weeks back at Imola there was heavy rain at turn 2 yet sector 3 was barely wet whatsoever. We need this to be represented in-game. We also need the introduction of wind, which played a major role at Portimao. Wind would change depending on the circuit, affecting how the car handles, some cars more than others. We also need more leeway between the wet and inter tyres, if you look at real life examples, the inter is far more for a drying track whereas the wets can be used in light rain conditions.

Racing:

Of course none of what I said matters if the racing experience isn’t exciting, and it’s mixed. The AI can be very good sometimes at attacking you, but mostly only if they have DRS and decide to use their overtake button. They are normally quite easy to race against, you can dummy the inside and they’ll always cover it, allowing you to swoop around the outside. Their IQ drops to zero at the first corner, they follow a double-file line and brake far too early. You can start last and easily make up 7/8 places legally by dive bombing them at turn 1, depending on the track of course. I race on 99-105 difficulty and even still they are quite slow off the line itself, I regularly make up 1-4 positions and no I don’t have lightning fast reactions, they’re just slow. They are consistently slow around some corners (Vietnam turns 6 and 7, Wall of Champions chicane at Canada) and ridiculously quick around others (La Source at Spa or turns 9 and 10 at China). They’ll sometimes slam on the brakes to back out of a move and lose 1-2 seconds. Their pace is there but their racecraft, even against each other is absolutely awful and needs drastic improvement.

I’ve already talked about mechanical issues that could affect drivers, but rarely does the AI retire from an actual crash, and if they do, it’s more often than not because they ran into the back of a slowing car that has suffered an issue. The AI needs to make more mistakes, whilst they lock up and can sometimes twitch and step the rear out, they rarely spin, crash or anything else similar. The awareness attribute exists for this reason, yet it’s not being utilised whatsoever.

Safety Car/VSC:

Uhhhh it’s broken, and has been for a while now. I’ve seen the AI literally park it on the side of a straight, yellow flags will wave and after thirty seconds his car will poof into thin air and disappear. Some career modes I’ve started have working safety cars, others won’t, with no correlation as to why. It’s really quite simple, if a crash happens, you’ll likely have to trigger a safety car to either clear the car(s) or debris. If a car retires on track, if they do so at a certain place we may only need a vsc, anywhere else will trigger a safety car. And why can’t we trigger safety cars in the last few laps? Why can’t we end the race behind the safety car? Also seriously improve the AI’s decision making in terms of strategy for safety cars, sometimes they don’t come in and I feel like I cheat myself into winning by getting a free pitstop. This also applies for changing from wet to drys and vice versa. Also introduce the option to follow the safety car through the pit lane and of course bring back red flags for major incidents. Also also introduce starting under safety car for heavy wet conditions.

Editor:

Football Manager has a mode called The Editor, whereby you can completely change the game the way you want it, perhaps relegating Manchester United or making Lionel Messi 21 years of age again. Basically you're messing with the game's database, and something like this would work wonder in F1's career mode. Imagine being able to give every driver an equal car, or running the season with every race at Monaco? How about giving every driver the awareness attribute of 1 or configuring it so you replicate a season of old? The possibilities are endless, you could truly edit a vast array of things and then save that database and use it in career. Sure achievements would be disabled but the addition of an editor mode would multiple the longevity of the mode infinitely.

Miscellaneous:

  • We need more than 3 slots of driver careers. This is simply not enough. We had 10(?) in F1 2019 so why has this been reduced?
  • Allow us to save multiple versions of the same save, so we can go back to a previous save point.
  • Please for the love of god sort out Jeff’s response to me asking for the weather report. I know drys seem like the fastest tyre for now, what I don’t know is when the rain is going to hit and that’s what I’m asking.
  • Introduce red flags for incidents in practice, qualifying and then big crashes or monsoon rain in the race.
  • Either remove Claire and her interviews or give them a purpose/fix them. I recently moved to Mercedes mid season 4 and she asked me after two races with them am I interested in signing for Renault, who are the 6th best team. Like Claire, at least pretend to do some research smh.
  • Teams do not consider who is in front in terms of priority for pit stops. Yes this is not always the case in real life, but if I’m tailing my team mate I know I’ll get by them because I’ll have a nice undercut, for some reason no matter who my teammate is I’m always the priority. You may say okay, just pit after them, except they’re programmed to pit after me, so if I’m to pit on lap 6 but I stay out, they pit on lap 7 instead of 6, and I’m forced to pit on lap 8. Teams should favour the lead driver or the number one driver, depending on circumstance, and communicate to each driver to change their strategy accordingly.
  • My above point would be slightly rectified if teams could pit both drivers efficiently, but they can’t. This also needs addressing, but of course stopping cars back to back should increase the chance of a mistake from your pit crew.
  • The acclaim system is a nice idea, but needs some tweaking. Drivers should lose or gain large amounts of acclaim depending on whether or not they’re beating their team mate in qualifying and in the race, and where they finish of course.
  • Your pit crew can make mistakes, small mistakes that could cause a 5 second pitstop to larger mistakes such as not attaching the tyre properly and it falling off like Kimi at Austria, forcing you to retire. Their ability will be visible for the Team HQ and can be upgraded in MyTeam.
  • Far more depth is needed in driver contracts, bonuses for meeting objectives, length of contracts, etc.
  • The AI needs to mess up in practice and qualifying because it simply doesn’t happen at the moment.
  • Add a cooldown lap, maybe if you win you could press a button to wave to the crowd, etc.
  • Change the pit boxes depending on the previous season’s results.
  • Starting from the pitlane if necessary
  • AI will consider pitstops more tactically, performing undercuts, overcuts and trying not to pit cars into traffic if possible.
  • Team orders, the ability to request to pass your team mate and being told to let yours by.
  • Rare chances that if monsoon rain hits qualifying that they use the latest Practice leaderboard to determine the grid.

I understand that Codemasters are excited to bring their new Breaking Point mode into F1 2021 and it sounds great but at the core the current career mode has a lot to improve upon, and if even half of these implementations were made I think we'd all be delighted. I’m sure there are many things I have missed out on. If you have any suggestions I will gladly add them to the list.

Thanks for reading!

TLDR: drys seem like the fastest tyre for now

  • Agree 3

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Isn't it a bit late for a wishlist when a game is about to go in beta?

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