Thursday, May 19, 2022
HomeGaming NewsCodemasters’ F1 series faces the same balancing act as the sport

Codemasters’ F1 series faces the same balancing act as the sport

While the quality of the racing was debatable as were some of the off-track antics – including an incredible Spinal Tap-esque underground ramble to the podium and that fake marina – the weekend’s Miami GP felt like something of a watershed moment for F1, as the sport finally cracked the US audience. It’s been over 30 years since the Phoenix GP failed to bring in as many fans as the Ostrich derby happening in the next town over, and it’s incredible to see the progress that’s been made.

Just as it’s dazzling to see how far the F1 series has come since Codemasters took over. I remember the reveal of the studio’s first take on the licence, the hastily put together but nevertheless admirable F1 2009 on Wii, all taking place in a scruffy function room above the modest but loveable White Horse pub in Silverstone village, with the stuffy F1 powers that be at the time refusing to give up prime paddock space without charging an extortionate amount. Liberty’s takeover of the sport in 2017 helped move away from all that and open up the sport to a new audience, the likes of Netflix’s Drive to Survive and a renewed presence on social media leading to the packed stands of well-informed, highly enthusiastic fans we saw in Miami over the weekend.

Codemasters’ own F1 series has been a beneficiary, too: Charles LeClerc’s onboard lap in F1 22 of the new track – a sort of distant cousin to the infamous race around the Cesar’s Palace car park of the early 80s – was pushed heavily ahead of the event to help set the scene, while the game itself feels as much a part of the fabric of the sport as Netflix’s highly-watched series.

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