Formula 1 journalist simulates seven seasons on new F1 game to judge realism of driver transfers

F1 Grand Prix of Austria

The F1 Esports game has finally added driver transfers to its campaign after years of cries from its faithful fans.

The news inspired one particular motorsport journalist to live out seven seasons of the campaign to see exactly who ends up where.

Some results are perhaps what you’d expect, others are completely bonkers…

2019 Season

Why not start in the season we are currently enjoying. In the game the season plays out, for the most part, how you may expect - Mercedes dominating the year with Ferrari and Red Bull joining the ranks.

Lewis Hamilton won the campaign as he is looking set to do now; the British champion has already earned just short of 200 points, winning six of the opening nine races.

The game throws its first major curveball ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix when Daniel Ricciardo loses his place with Renault after a poor start to the season. He moves to Haas while the Frenchman Romain Grosjean goes the other way to Renault. The deal backfires, though, as Ricciardo re-gains his form to help Haas finish above Renault to pip them to fourth spot.

WDC: 1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), 3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

WCC: 1. Mercedes, 2. Ferrari, 3. Red Bull

2020 Season

This is where things begin to get quite strange… Hamilton makes the boldest of decisions to join Ferrari in the hope of a new challenge. Vettel goes the other way and suits up in Mercedes colours in the most unlikely move.

F1 Grand Prix of Austria

As you would have thought, though, Hamilton’s move flops and neither Mercedes or Ferrari were rewarded for their changes as the Brit went winless through the entire season and Haas took the Championship after adding Nico Hulkenberg to their ranks.

It looks as though the F1 gods are urging Hamilton to continue his successes with Mercedes.

Off-season moves: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes to Ferrari); Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari to Mercedes); Nico Hulkenberg (Renault to Haas); Romain Grosjean (Renault to Racing Point); Kevin Magnussen (Haas to Renault); Sergio Perez (Racing Point to Renault)

WDC: 1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 2. Daniel Ricciardo (Haas), 3. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)

WCC: 1. Haas, 2. Red Bull, 3. Mercedes

2021 Season

It seems like the man behind the transfers in F1 game got a bit carried away with his newfound power and went a little crazy. Season after season the game began to make the most bizarre transfers such as Vettel and Verstappen both moving to Racing Point.

F1 Grand Prix of Austria

Hamilton wasn’t affected by his horror year in 2020 and began finding his feet in the red colours of Ferrari in the season after. He formed a great partnership with teammate Charles Leclerc securing a one, three finish in the championship… maybe Hamilton should consider a move to Ferrari after all.

Off-season moves: Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes to Renault); Max Verstappen (Red Bull to Racing Point); Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari to Racing Point); Romain Grosjean (Racing Point to Red Bull); Lance Stroll (Racing Point to Mercedes); Kevin Magnussen (Renault to Mercedes).

WDC: 1. Lewis Hamilton (Ferrari), 2. Sebastian Vettel (Racing Point), 3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

WCC: 1. Ferrari, 2. Renault, 3. Racing Point

2022 Season

Vettel seemed to be a transfer favourite in the game as he made his fourth transfer in as many seasons only to return back to Mercedes to eventually go on to win the Drivers’ Championship.

F1 Grand Prix of Austria - Qualifying

Racing Point had now been dropped by the game back into the middle of the rankings after their brief stint among the elites of the F1 manufacturers.

Hamilton continued a wavered pattern of winning one WDC and falling out of the top three in the season after. Britain’s finest F1 driver isn’t nearly as consistent when trapped in a simulation.

Off-season moves: Sebastian Vettel (Racing Point to Mercedes), Nico Hulkenberg (Haas to Mercedes), Kevin Magnussen (Mercedes to Racing Point), Carlos Sainz (McLaren to Haas), Lance Stroll (Mercedes to McLaren)

WDC: 1. Sebastian Vettel (Mercedes), 2. Valtteri Bottas (Renault), 3. Sergio Perez (Renault)

WCC: 1. Mercedes, 2. Renault, 3. Ferrari

2023 Season

Hamilton again continued in his form four years into the future after securing the 2023 WDC with Ferrari. Ricciardo is his new partner with the Italian manufacturer who earned a third-placed finish himself.


In fact, Hamilton had the best year of his career, tallying a staggering 18 wins in a season and a record-breaking 508 points. Hamilton also broke the record for 16 straight wins in the season.

It would seem that the top three competitors four years on are Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault, with Vettel continuing to impress with Mercedes.

Off-season moves: Daniel Ricciardo (Haas to Ferrari); Charles Leclerc (Ferrari to Haas); Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso to Alfa Romeo), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo to Toro Rosso).

WDC: 1. Lewis Hamilton (Ferrari), 2. Sebastian Vettel (Mercedes), 3. Daniel Ricciardo (Ferrari)

WCC: 1. Ferrari, 2. Mercedes, 3. Renault

2024 Season

Finally, a bit of order is restored as the game lands back into near reality after Hamilton re-joins Mercedes after his omnipotent season.

F1 Grand Prix of Austria

It pays off too as, for the first time in the game, Hamilton retains his top place finish in the WDC to grab his fourth title in the career mode with the manufacturer he started the 2019 season with.

Raikkonen, now 44, is still going and completes a debut season with Williams. Stroll becomes the first driver to drop out of the F1 scene at the expense of George Russell who finally gets to be part of the F1 career mode journey.

Off-season moves: Lewis Hamilton (Ferrari to Mercedes); Sebastian Vettel (Merceds to Ferrari), George Russell (to McLaren); Alex Albon (Williams to Toro Rosso), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo to Williams).

WDC: 1. Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Vettel (Ferrari), 3. Ricciardo (Ferrari)

WCC: 1. Mercedes, 2. Ferrari, 3. Renault

2025 Season

The last season played out in the career mode sees the end of all the entropy that the computer had generated before. An equilibrium has finally been reached in the game in which no unbelievably shocking transfers occur.


Similarly, order is restored as Hamilton goes on to win his third title in a row and fifth overall. Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari end as the top three manufactures - not too dissimilar to the reality of the current real 2019 season.

For all the shocks, twists and turns and downright impossible changes that the career mode produced, the end results were Lewis Hamilton winning a WDC with Mercedes and being closely chased by Bottas…sound familiar?

Off-season moves: Sergio Perez (Renault to Red Bull); Pierre Gasly (Red Bull to Renault); Kimi Raikkonen (Williams to Alfa Romeo); Daniil Kvyat (Alfa Romeo to Williams).

WDC: 1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Valtteri Bottas (Red Bull), 3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull/Mercedes)

WCC: 1. Mercedes, 2. Red Bull, 3. Ferrari

It is very apparent that he F1 career mode still has a long way to go before it even comes close to being as realistic or indeed as enjoyable as games like Football Manager or FIFA. Transfers are decided by clever computerised technology - tracking age, performance, loyalty and nationality.

No new racers joined the game, developing from F2 and Raikkonen was going right up until the age of 45 and probably would have been behind the wheel for another five years under the rulings of the game.

Some of the changes and results could happen for sure, but let’s just say we’d be very shocked if we saw Hamilton lifting the WDC in the red colours of Ferrari in the next two years.

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