An intriguing new feature has been announced for F1 2019‘s singleplayer career mode: AI-controlled drivers will be able to transfer between teams.
While players have long been able to do this themselves in various Formula One game campaigns, this is the first time a Codemasters-developed title has ever allowed the non-player controlled characters to also race for a different team.
Until now, AI drivers in Formula One games have been restricted to only driving for the outfits they race for in real life: for example, Lewis Hamilton would only ever be seen in F1 2018 behind the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG W09. The only exemption to that rule would be when the player signed for one of the teams, meaning one of the real-life driver’s virtual counterparts wouldn’t be present on the grid for that in-game season.
According to Codemasters, most of these transfers will occur in between seasons, with drivers being promoted or demoted to a different team depending on how well they performed in the championship. Players can also expect to see drivers swap teams mid-season, though the developers say this will be a much rarer occurrence than the traditional pre-season reshuffle.
In addition to the NPC driver market fluctuation, players will be able to influence the beginnings of their own career if they choose to first take to the track in the optional Formula 2 feeder series. In a similar manner to how the Young Driver Test tutorial worked in F1 2012, the player’s overall performance in the championship will determine which teams they can race for in their first Formula One season.