F1 2013: An instant classic?

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May 4, 2013
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It hasn't, by any standards, been a classic year for F1 so far. Sebastian Vettel's on course for a fourth consecutive title, and while the sport hasn't quite plumbed the depths witnessed during the last period of dominance by a German driver it's been at its weakest for some time, the racing only kept interesting as the playground politics seep onto the track in action that's blandly artificial. So it makes some sense, then, that the debut of this year's tie-in game shifts the focus away from the contemporary tedium of fast-degrading tire compounds to an era that's more famous for its full-blooded exploits. For the first time in Codemasters' tenure on F1, classic cars are making an appearance.

It's an addition that's been a long time coming. "We've been trying to do it since we first got the Formula One licence," explains creative director Steve Hood. "Every year we've been doing them people have been asking do we have classic cars and classic drivers, and every year we're saying no. It's quite disappointing to say that, but we have been working on it in the background, to try and sign these licence deals and explore the possibility of creating an event around classic cars."

And so there are no half measures in the implementation this time out (even if, frustratingly, it's being divided by the arrival of a new premium-priced 'Classic Edition'). There's a new mode dubbed F1 Classics, from which you can access Time Trials, Grand Prixs and Time Attacks - plus another couple of modes that are yet to be announced - and it's possible to take some of the older machinery to the 2013 roster as well as returning classics long excised from the calendar such as Jerez, Imola, Estoril and Brands Hatch. Unfortunately existing tracks won't be available in their more classic incarnations - so it won't be possible to recreate the heroics of Keke Rosberg's 160mph lap around the brilliant Silverstone before its majesty was blunted by the introduction of chicanes, and well before its more recent and more dramatic mauling.

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