You know what, Covid can just fuck off can’t it. Causing untold misery to the world, being the cause of so many deaths and cancelling all the things we cared about this year, be it festivals, shows, movie releases or sports. Being given an F1 game to review I was stung thinking about the 2020 season that could have been, new circuits and racers.

Ah what a world, so now with a break in the action and no fans, we have to live vicariously through games like these that exist in a hypothetical universe where we aren’t hiding indoors and hoarding tinned goods. F1 2020 is just what any F1 fan in lockdown or racing fan in general will need to get them through. This 2020 update may only have a few small updates to the handling system and the additional my team mode, but these seemingly mundane changes are what has driven this latest entry from good to great.

One of the changes that has blown my fragile little mind is the inclusion of an “Overtake button” this is something that was actually called for by the F1 drivers that devs Codemasters consulted. Apparently, the drivers insisted that it was harder to overtake in the 2019 game than it was in real life! So, there you go, if you could pull off the perfect overtake on the apex in F1 2019, you’re better than most drivers in the championship! The perk of this overtake function is that it’s more or less a turbo mode which makes the game overall, way more fun. Though that being said I know I have a bias toward F1 as I’m a huge fan of the motorsport and can understand that to a more casual audience, things might end up getting a bit dull a bit fast.

If you’re just looking for something to hit you with a sense of speed however, this is the way to go. 2020 has you flying around the tracks and when you get everything right it feels amazing. Be careful though since, just like in reality, if you slip up even slightly it’s all over. Even the tiniest fraction of a tyre hitting the grass or gravel on a corner will ruin your race and leave you struggling for pace at the back of the pack. It’s moments like this that make it clear you’re on a racing simulator, not so much a game. Everything here is made to make you feel like you’re taking part in an actual F1 grand prix. While the handling and “turbo” features open the title up to a wider audience, this still isn’t a title for a casual racing fan.

Like most sports games lately, the F1 series has been adding more and more narrative, last year we had the My Career mode which was frankly, painful to watch at times. And now, much like Dirt before it, F1 2020 adds My Team. In My Team, as the name implies, you start from the ground up building your own racing team to take part in the F1 Championship. This mode handles like an RPG as you build your team up and hire and fire crew members, so you can develop the best vehicle and acquire those bunce bringing sponsors. It’s not flawless and needs refining sure but it’s a good first effort that adds a lot more depth to the experience overall.

All in all F1 is a gorgeous and fuller experience than any of the titles before it, the return of split screen and some great online features means this is perhaps the most inclusive F1 title yet, and amongst the greats in the racing genre from the get go. Codemasters have produced a title that fans of the highest tier of motorsport have been patiently waiting for and it delivers in every way but is also the most accessible game in the series to date for new fans looking to cut their teeth in the pinnacle of racing. If you have been missing F1 and those cancelled races won’t stop hurting even with the season back in full swing, this is the perfect salve to give you a look at a world that could have been.

I’ve got to give F1 2020: