F1 2015: A grand prix-view of Codemasters’ most advanced racer yet

The downpour pitter-patters a tiny cacophony on our helmet as droplets stream down the visor. It is, as you can guess, raining, but this isn’t any rain. F1 2015 has some of the best falling water we’ve seen in a videogame: wheels kick up thick white spray to cloud your vision, wind divides the deluge into misty sheets, and glassy puddles reflect the bright moon above.

We’re in Singapore gearing up for a 14-man race. It’s just three laps, which is eminently winnable in our nippy Mercedes, but conditions are treacherous. In fact, compared to last year’s somewhat sterile depiction the cars were too clean, the asphalt too uniform the stage feels more intimidating, with grit and smoke and smudged reflections.

The scene owes itself to EGO 4.0. Making its debut, Codemasters’ powerful current-gen engine not only fuels textured visuals, but everything under them, too. Dynamic tyre models see temperature, wear, and conditions all affect grip, while revitalised handling takes detailed account of aerodynamics, suspension, and fuel consumption. The realism is almost scary, and for the uninitiated it’s a lot to handle. 
“The thin layer of water that forms between the wheel and the road costs us traction”
Baptism by tyre
But back to the race. With the distant Singapore Flyer ferris wheel gently spinning in the city’s bustling Downtown Core, we cut over the initial bend and feel the change in surface as tyre meets rumble strip, the aquaplane churn as a thin layer of water forms between the wheel and road and costs us traction. On the next turn we attempt a short drift. Bad move. Drifts, even very small ones,
have been dialed down this year as Codemasters bumps up realism.

Remember, these cars are taking tight corners at 70mph, and at such high speeds the margin for error is understandably tiny. Driving aids can of course be customised apart from during the new Pro Seasons mode, in which assists are off and your view is locked to cockpit cam for the ultimate challenge of motor maintenance. Codemasters is packing in the entire 2014 World Championship for fans to speed through, too. Not content to be the prettiest in the series, F1 2015 is also set to be the most complete.

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