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F1 2016 is a Formula One nerd's dream

Gaming: Codemasters' latest is the most pedantic take on the sport yet

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Last year’s F1 2015 felt great to drive, but series fans complained that it was a bit of a flimsy package compared to bumper, feature-stuffed F1 games of yore. Based on what we’ve seen so far of F1 2016, it’s the gaming equivalent of a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates. Codemasters is clearly very sorry indeed.

Take the new career mode, which is almost sarcastically in-depth. You start by picking a team and you’re deposited directly into their swish paddock hospitality unit to conduct your affairs. Bigger teams have bigger expectations, so if you choose a top squad you’ll have to deliver the silverware, lest you get unceremoniously hoofed out, Kvyat style.

Other fan requests that will be satisfied in F1 2016 include a playable formation lap, fiddly manually controlled starts and the return of the safety car. Yes, F1 gamers will happily drive around in a queue behind a road car without overtaking for three to five laps if it’ll make the whole enterprise more realistic.

Perhaps most astonishing of all, Codemasters has somehow managed to give us a reason to complete free practice sessions rather than skipping straight to Quali, like we have in every previous F1 game. Banging in laps during practice now involves completing challenges that will help your team work out a tyre strategy and earn you resource points that can be spent on research and development of improved components.

You’ll want those new parts because you’ll be locked in a bitter rivalry, first with your team-mate and then, when you’ve mercilessly crushed his spirit in the palm of your Alpinestars glove, with another close competitor. The rivalry feature encourages you not just to beat your team-mate but to utterly demoralise him by smashing his fastest laps and beating his qualifying times too. Inspiration has clearly been taken from the protracted, soap opera collapse of Hamilton and Rosberg’s once-beautiful friendship.

There’s also a brand new multiplayer championship mode that will allow you to play through the full calendar with grids of up to 22 human players. Well, that is if you can find 21 mates who are interested enough to make that season-long commitment. Every time we mention the difference in tyre deg between softs and supersofts in the pub, everyone suddenly remembers an errand they need to run, so we don’t fancy our chances.

Interested? There’s not long to wait now, with F1 2016 launching on PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 19th. With the real sport enjoying its summer break until a week later, you’ll be good and ready for some more intra-team bickering, claims of favouritism and fratricidal overtaking manoeuvres by then…

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