So if my average qualifying performance so far is 18th (as the statistics on the loading screens helpfully assert), why is my team objective to qualify 14th? Well, perhaps they know something I don’t because at the Nurburgring, even though I forgot to set my Fuel Mix to 3, I manage to qualify 14th.
So, how about the race target of 12th? Considering the fuel mix error and my good starts, that seems highly achievable.
Well, this time I got a poor start as my humble HRT just couldn’t compete in the drag to the first corner. I snick a position back around the outside of the Mercedes Arena (turns 2 and 3) and am in wheel-to-wheel combat heading into Dunlop-Kehre. Unfortunately, I forgot that F1 2011 models fuel weight and my normal braking point is not adequate to stop my car from understeering into the kitty litter. 12th? Not now. My aim has to adjust to finish best of the F1 runts: 18th.
It cannot be overstated just how important Codemasters’ opponent indicators are in making this an enjoyable racing experience. A lap or two later, I’m battling hard with Maldonado and Perez, side-by-side, being overtaken and overtaking, all without incident, all tremendous fun and all because Codemasters gives you the information you need and cannot receive any other way. You can’t use your mirrors on the car, you can’t use surround sound cues, you can’t use your innate sixth sense, you can’t just feel where the other car is. So Codemasters, almost uniquely (perhaps it’s copyrighted), give you clear indicators revealing exactly where the other cars are. It works tremendously well.
Something that doesn’t work so well is shown up a few laps later when I out-brake Alonso into the final chicane (I think it’s currently called the NDK Chicane, it used to be called Veedol Chicane). My move and his defence causes him to jump across the kerb right across my path. I hit him square in the side (if I had reacted quickly enough I could have braked; I got a penalty for his mistake) and our cars bumped into the air a bit but no debris, no damage. The damage in F1 2010 and F1 2011 is awful. F1 accidents cause hundreds of pieces of shattered debris to come flying off the cars. Not in Codemasters’ game. In fact, when a major accident does happen, the result is a bit embarrassing, like first-timer Guybrush Threepwood hocking a loogie. Is it a licensing issue? It shouldn’t be. Accidents and altercations are part of the F1 experience and shouldn’t be terribly muted. This is a game. No-one can get hurt in an accident in a game.
As to the race, the brief early excursion and this penalty mean I finish in 16th, which for me was a bit of a save but for the game, a failure to meet their objective. And to be fair, my fastest lap time did indicate I should have finished just outside the top ten, specifically 12th. Perhaps the team do know something I don’t when setting their objectives.