There are not too many questions remaining over 2014 in terms of the driver market, although one highly coveted seat does remain at Lotus.
Away from reality, and before the 2013 iteration has even been officially released, Codemasters has been teasing info about its 2014 game for the new Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles.
Ecclestone Helping Massa
It an unwritten rule that Formula 1 needs Brazil in some way. It would be a travesty if the Grand Prix was struck off the calendar and would be equally disappointing not to see a Brazilian racing next year.
We've previously noted on this website, in this column, that Felipe Nasr has been tipped for a drive next season, though his destination is unknown, and it's likely to be in a third driver role.
However, it seems F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone is determined not to see the GP2 star's namesake and current Ferrari incumbent Felipe Massa bow out without a fight.
Motorsport.com reported that Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo has spoken to Ecclestone, with the F1 chief eager to see Massa on the grid; hopes boosted by Brazilian broadcaster Globo's commitment to the sport in 2014.
I am trying to help; it's not easy, but we're working on it. If Felipe gets some sponsors, everything will change and Brazil should have a driver on the grid in 2014. A strong economy like the one in Brazil is in a good position to invest in a driver.
Lotus To Re-Adopt Renault Name?
Lotus' financial problems have been well-documented, a situation made worse by Kimi Raikkonen's departure for contractual reasons.
Now, team owner Gerard Lopez has admitted that the team lacks the "political" clout of manufacturer-backed teams.
That led him, according to Motorsport.com, telling Auto Hebdo that he was not opposed to it adopting the moniker of an established car maker.
That, combined with Eric Boullier's comments to the official Formula 1 website that Renault depends on Lotus as much as it does Red Bull, has opened the door for a potential rebranding under the name of the team's former owner.
Ideally, we need to get the support of an automaker. It gives significant weight in the political arena of F1, and in the relations with investors and shareholders. I would not mind if the team has to change its name. It doesn't matter whether it's called Genii, Lotus, Renault or something else.
Van Der Garde And Kovalainen In Caterham 2014 Frame
Caterham boss Tony Fernandes has revealed both current driver Giedo van der Garde and F1 race winner Heikki Kovalainen are being considered for the team's second seat next year.
It is expected that Charles Pic will continue with the team after his switch from Marussia last year, with Fernandes seriously contemplating reinstating Kovalainen, who he axed for van der Garde this season.
Financial reasons were the cause of the Finn's departure, though a poor start to the year led to Fernandes recalling him for a bit-part Friday role with the team.
Now, he is determined not to go for a "pay driver" in 2014, having been openly critical about the concept in recent weeks.
However, that does not mean van der Garde, who has upped his performances considerably recently and was an impressive 16th in Singapore, is out of the grame.
Speaking to De Telegraaf, as reported by Auto 123, he said:
I do not want to start another season with two 'pay drivers'. Kovalainen has a good chance of getting one of the two seats. [But van der Garde] has come back well after a difficult start.
Canada was the low point, when I was thinking I had made a big mistake. But he's had a good recovery; the two times he got through to Q2 were the highlights. And with his sixteenth place in Singapore he performed optimally again. We'll have to see how the situation evolves.
Codemasters Tease F1 2014 Info
It might seem odd that Codemasters are teasing information about next year's official F1 game given its 2013 version is not even out yet.
But with the Playstation 4 and Xbox One set to be rolled out, attentions are probably shifting to the next-generation of gaming quicker than they are to new releases on the current models (Grand Theft Auto aside).
So, what can gamers and fans expect from F1 2014 on the new consoles? Something that makes this writer very happy—greater realism.
According to Andy Gray, Codemasters' communications manager, the game will indeed run at 60 frames per second (compared to 30fps at present). That means graphics and gameplay will be considerably improved.
Having more power enables us to do a lot more. Automatically the skip up to 60 frames per second, for example, on next-gen will enable the handling to move on leaps and bounds, because the more frames you have, the more the contact points there are essentially.
We're talking to a couple of teams about sharing their kind of physics data, in terms of the way the car actually handles in their simulators, and we can more or less port that over to consoles, which wouldn't be possible with current-gen.
While I can't give away any secrets, I can tell you we are cooking up a storm here at Codemasters and we can't wait to show you what we are planning for the next game. Our goal is to achieve the most realistic visuals possible, and with the next generation consoles offering us more speed and power, we will be in the best position we have ever been in, which will allow us to achieve the level of realism which will enhance the driving and emotional experience for the F1 player.
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