F1 2021 is out now, with the superb racing series continuing to deliver a brilliantly authentic, gloriously entertaining experience, fit to burst with excellent features. Arguably the most exciting additions to the series’ latest entry is the Braking Point mode, as well as online career mode, offering the chance to work together, or foster an even greater sense of competition between racers.
But with so much new to enjoy, it can be tough to know how you can get an edge in a game in which the finest margins can decide everything. So, we caught up with Codemasters’ Lee Mather, franchise game director of F1 2021, to get some tips to help us reach the podium.
For newbies to the series, what would be your tips for getting started with F1 2021?
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the options available. Start a GP race and find your feet. Determine the assists that work best for you and an AI level which you’re comfortable with, then carry those settings over into the other game modes.
What are your tips for tackling the new tracks?
I’m probably not the best person to offer advice here, as the way I go about it usually means plenty of incidents. I start off going way too fast and having to wind myself back in. It would certainly be a good idea to try the new tracks in Time Trial and to enable a dynamic racing line. I’d also advise enabling the on-track telemetry line to see your best lines.
Any gameplay tweaks that series veterans should be aware of?
There's quite a lot to cover here, both in the vehicle set-up and the options that are now presented to the player. I’ll start with options: F1 2020 added Casual Race Style, this year we’re adding to that with Expert Race Style. Expert Race Style opens a whole host of new options that will allow veterans to really tailor their Career and My Team progression.
Players who are experienced with our previous F1 games will also find that the car set-up which they previously used won’t be their go to set-ups in F1 2021. The changes to the aero and tyre model will mean they’ll need to start working out which set-ups are most effective for them at each circuit.
What are your tips for getting started in Braking Point?
My biggest tip for Braking Point is along the same lines as any of our big headline game modes, such as My Team or Career. It’s worth finding your feet with a few laps in Time Trial or GP. Work out the assists you like and the difficulty level you enjoy. As an extra tip, the first event in Braking Point takes place in a 2019 F2 car at Abu Dhabi, so it’s worth familiarising yourself with that circuit.
What are your career mode tips this year?
Before starting a Career playthrough, consider what your goals and objectives are. Do you want to be aiming to become world champion within one or two seasons, or do you want to work your way from the back of the field over multiple seasons? Then, pick a team that will allow you to achieve those goals. I’d also recommend getting to understand the new R&D system and how you can take advantage of the new Development Boosts which exist in Practice.
How can friends best aid each other in online career mode?
This is an area where the two players will be able to advantage themselves over the AI teams in the same way as team-mates can in the real world. In qualifying, there’s going to be the opportunity to slipstream one another to improve lap time. During the race players will be able to share comms to give each other an idea of what’s going on around them and help them find gaps in the traffic or even consider the under or overcut. Two heads are better than one, so good comms will be important.
And how can they get an edge over each other in online career?
The dynamic when competing against each other will be very different. If you’re racing for different teams then it’s going to be very important to keep ahead in the development race and to ensure you're always pushing the team to develop the car. It’s also going to be important to look for potential team moves that could present themselves to you. If you can move to a more competitive team through the contracts system, then that would give an instant boost over your friend.
Any tips for getting ahead in My Team?
In My Team in F1 2021, not only will you need to ensure you have a good chassis, strong engine supplier and effective sponsorship, but you’ll really want to make sure you deal with any of the new Department Events that might trigger. Department Events will play a part in the smooth running of your team and the motivation or focus of your team-mate. Focus is a new stat which will be important when motivating your team-mate. A team-mate with a strong Focus statistic will perform to the best of their abilities, which will be key to running a Championship winning team.
Any pointers for getting an edge in Formula 2?
It’s important with the F2 cars to remember that they don’t have the massive levels of downforce an F1 car has and because of this, braking distances will be a little longer and cornering speeds lower. It’s always important to maintain good momentum, but without the added boost from the ERS system, corner exit speeds in F2 are key to performing an overtake.