The 'F1 2020' Racing Game Can't Keep Up With Reality

The Formula 1 racing season almost ended before it began. Just three days before the Australian Grand Prix was set to open the 2020 campaign, with the teams already gathered in Melbourne while the coronavirus pandemic was exploding across the globe, the sport’s governing body finally made the decision to cancel the event. A member of the McLaren team tested positive for the disease at the same time, the races in China and Bahrain had already been cancelled, and so the teams broke camp and headed home to deal with both an immediate health crisis and a financial crisis for the sport.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I am interested to see how, if at all, sports games respond to the pandemic. Will the 2021 games have pandemic season modes? Will the games totally ignore what happened?

In F1’s case I don’t know that a pandemic season mode would be feasible, the devs have said it takes about a year to make a new track, so at this stage they would need to make 3 new ones for next years game. They did manage to make two new tracks for this years game though so maybe it’s doable. In career mode you can at least choose to only run a 10 or 16 race season and make your own pretend pandemic season, minus the new circuits.

I had a season where it listed the Honda engine as 100 power, 100 reliability, so I chose it and then got overtaken by absolutely everyone on the straights, since then I’ve just stuck with the Mercedes engine. Also the game seems to really not want me to be able to fight with Mercedes, after 4 seasons I almost had my car upgraded enough to be able to get close to them, then it decided to give me Aero, Power and Chassis regulation changes and I had no chance of being able to adapt all of my parts before the new season started, pushing me back into the mid-pack again. By far the least accurate feature though is that Bottas keeps winning the Championship in my game.

Rob’s writing on sport - any sport - is a great reminder that a lot of sport is extremely similar to video games, and writers in the industry would be so much better at their jobs if they read more sports writing. This is how this shit is done.