The 2023 Formula 1 season is back after a spring break and it has players everywhere eagerly awaiting the F1 23 Career Mode now that this year's F1 game has been announced.
The classic driver-only mode was recently joined by the owner-driver My Team mode, but it remains a staple of the game and one enjoyed by racers everywhere.
Big changes are coming to F1 23's career mode, with a new car upgrade system changing the progression.
Here's everything we know so far about the F1 23 career mode.
Latest news - F1 23 announced with new R&D system
An F1 23 leak from a reliable source suggested some big changes are planned for the Career Mode, particularly in how the car is developed. Now that F1 23 has been announced, we can confirm these rumours were true.
It's been a while since we had a total overhaul to R&D, but F1 23 will introduce a new car upgrade system where parts are rewarded for completing challenges and winning races.
Codemasters also confirmed that Las Vegas and Qatar will be in F1 23 at launch along with the return of the Braking Point story mode and red flags for the first time since F1 2014.
F1 23 Career Mode
Career Mode is the bread and butter of the Formula 1 game. Until the introduction of My Team, it was by far the most popular game mode in the F1 game.
Career Mode is still very popular, as this is the only way to become the head of your favourite real-life Formula 1 team. F1 23's career mode will see some significant changes in how you upgrade your car.
Where before players could earn R&D points through practice programs and then spend them on their upgrades of choice, F1 23 introduces a new upgrade system.
According to Codemasters, players can unlock car upgrades, new liveries, race suits, and helmets by completing challenges in the career mode. This is a big and welcome change to the career mode that will hopefully give a better sense of progression and reward.
Other details are yet to be confirmed, but a recent leak suggests sponsors will have a larger role. Points earned for upgrades are reportedly called Tech Points.
How much of this the player will be able to control in Career Mode is still unclear, but it will be less than they do in My Team, where you are also the Team Principal and owner.
New and returning tracks
The F1 23 calendar includes old favourites like Spa, Silverstone, and Monza, but also two new tracks. The new Las Vegas street track will be in F1 23 at launch, even though Codemasters had limited time to create the circuit. Then again, Miami was also in F1 22 at launch.
Along with Las Vegas, Qatar's Lusail Circuit will also be available at launch rather than a post-launch update.
This is a new circuit in the F1 game series but not in Formula 1. F1 raced there in 2020 and it's also a staple of MotoGP.
In addition, legacy circuits from previous F1 calendars are confirmed for F1 23 at launch. These include Paul Ricard (France), Shanghai (China), and Portimão (Portugal).
Shanghai and Portimao were added to F1 22 in post-launch updates, but fans can race at these circuits in F1 23 at launch. France's polarising Paul Ricard circuit was removed from the 2023 calendar, but it makes sense for Codemasters to reuse the circuit as it doesn't require any extra resources.
One feature F1 22 added post-launch was the ability to adjust the calendar from the second season on. This gave players the chance to create the calendar of their dreams and filter in the added tracks of Portimao and Shanghai.
Hopefully, this feature will be available from launch in F1 23, and the dropped track of Paul Ricard will be kept in the game.
The addition of sprint races to the F1 calendar has been controversial, with some fans loving the extra races while others dislike the spotlight being pulled from Grand Prix Sunday.
They were fully integrated into F1 22, but changes to how they operate this season have been confirmed at the very last moment. This could well leave Codemasters on the back foot and mean that the Saturday qualifying & race are not present at launch.
We expect F1 23 sprint races to be handed as they were in F1 22, perhaps with a corrective post-launch patch to bring them up to the 2023 spec. This is a case of F1's decision-making being so last minute that Codemasters simply couldn't react in time. Of course, we could be wrong and they may have prepared for this scenario. We hope so, but expecting it would be too much.
Sprint races were not mentioned in the F1 23 announcement, so it looks like the new format will come in a post-launch update as this year's game is releasing earlier than usual.
Adaptive AI 2.0
Every season brings an improvement in how the AI-controller cars conduct themselves out on track. Each iteration of the F1 game brings with it AI that is more challenging and more realistic than the last.
F1 22 brought with it "Adaptive AI" and it was a marked improvement over F1 2021. There's no reason why F1 23 won't build further upon this, but Codemasters hasn't announced if this year's game will get an Adaptive AI 2.0, but we're hoping F1 23 will build on last year's AI improvements.
Something that could definitely do with some improvement for F1 23 is the representation of the TV coverage within the game.
Anthony Davidson and David Croft are a part of the real-life Sky F1 coverage in the UK, but that's where the realism ends. The two commentators sound very robotic and their limited dialogue loses its novelty after a handful of races.
F1 Manager 2022 showed what is possible when it comes to emulating real-life broadcasts.
In the F1 23 announcement, Codemasters says this year's F1 game will feature a new "new colour encoding system used in film and TV" to create a "more true-to-life experience."
We've yet to see how this looks in gameplay, but this hopefully means F1 23's presentation will be a step up to mirror TV broadcasts like in F1 Manager.
Braking Point's presentation will continue to use CGI cut scenes like in F1 2021, rather than live-action cut scenes like we saw in GRID Legends.
However, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen appear in the reveal trailer, suggesting that real-life drivers may appear in the story mode in live-action cut scenes.
F1 23 release date
F1 23 is releasing earlier than usual. The most recent F1 games released in late June and early July, but F1 23 is launching on 16 June across PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC via EA App, Epic Games Store, and Steam.
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