Coming up with something new to say about the annual update to a franchised sports game is probably almost as hard as being one of the developers who has to come up with something new to put in the game. Which is my inelegant way of saying that Codemasters’ newest Formula 1 racing game, F1 2019, is here.

I don’t envy the job of Lee Mather and his team at Codemasters. F1 2017 was a great racing game. F1 2018 was an extremely great racing game—and a wonderful interactive textbook focused on the evolution of Formula 1 cars from the early 1970s through today (as good a sequel to LJK Setright’s excellent The Grand Prix Car, 1954-1966 as we’re ever likely to see, but in video game form). Happily, F1 2019 is no turkey, adding enough that’s new to make the game a worthwhile upgrade for the F1 fan.

The most immediately noticeable change is the inclusion of Formula 2. This, as the name suggests, is the feeder series into F1—the sport’s version of baseball’s farm teams or college football and basketball. As you fire up the game for the first time and start your career mode, you’ll be faced with a series of different challenges as a young F2 driver hoping to move up to the big show. How you perform in these—working as a team player, dealing with a noxious rival, coping with adversity during a race—all influences the RPG elements of the game, which were first introduced in last year’s installment.

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