Like a lot of annual sports games, not much can change when it comes to gameplay unless the real life sport makes a drastic change too.
Well for Formula 1 gamers, that has happened. The big reduction in downforce levels for 2021 has seen drivers setting times far slower than last year.
Pole position in Spain this year was a 1:16.741 from Lewis Hamilton (who else?), but it was 1.2 seconds slower than his pole from 2020. The same was true in Portimao and Bahrain.
That lessening of downforce is coming to F1 2021, and with it comes a huge change in the meta for setups.
While the preview build of the game we have had access to is far from final and changes could be made, it looks like players will have to scrap their F1 2020 setups entirely when it comes to the new game.
The car is far more on edge in F1 2021, with a variety of changes impacting how your setup will effect performance.
F1 2021 GAMEPLAY
Several aspects appear to be changing this year. Firstly running 50% brake bias is a no-go as the rears will lockup on you, causing a quick swap of sides between you and the engine.
Then there is the ride height. While previous F1 games saw players getting the car as low as possible, this year bottoming out on a kerb will see a massive loss of downforce and result in a one-way trip to the barriers. Bumping those ride heights up will be vital even around places like Monza.
Tyre pressures & cambers
F1 2020 saw every track benefit from the lowest possible tyre pressures. This seems to be changing, with far more variablity in pressures across tracks and much higher pressures required than last year.
Likewise even the camber, traditionally a full-right push on both front and rear, is far more adjustable in F1 2021.
This will mean simply carrying over a setup from F1 2020 to the new game will be impossible.
It also means that setups are likely to be far more individual in F1 2021 than they have been in years past, at least until a meta gets uncovered, probably filtering its way down from the F1 Esports drivers into the general population of the game.
Of course, all this is subject to change. Codemasters are likely to still be tweaking the physics and handling to the game, and could even continue to do so after the game is released.
F1 2021 will be a grind like we haven't seen before as players adjust to the new handling and learn a trio of new tracks.
It's all set to be an amazing year for racers.
F1 2021 release date
Those keen to play earlier can grab the Deluxe Edition, which unlocks on 13 July thanks to three days early access.