Codemasters has proven itself in the F1 gameplay department, but the developer's handling of the franchise and license in previous iterations hasn't been so complete in other areas. F1 2016 hopes to take a big step forward for the series with its inclusion of more depth on and off the track.
A big part of this is the return of the career mode. Here you'll hire an agent, sign for a team, and work with a team engineer. These elements aren't strictly new to the franchise, but the fact that they're represented with avatars and that the paddock areas have been completely modeled, makes a big difference in how the career mode looks and feels. You'll also select your own driver avatar and helmet design. The latter has been in previous F1 titles, so we shall see if there are more designs available.
Moreover, the upgrading of your car and the overall team R&D not only lets you choose the direction you want the organization to go, but it also enriches other parts of the game. Performing and completing tests during the pre-race practice and qualification sessions earns you points which you can apply to car upgrades, and this facet of the garage amps up the pressure to perform better than your teammate and keep your team competitive. Rivalries will form on and off the track according to how you do.
In the gameplay department, F1 2016 adds a handful of features to make the experience more realistic and engaging, including the safety car and virtual safety car (for cautions); manual starts and pit entrances (both crucial times when you can gain or lose time); and the formation lap to warm your tires before the start of the race. Furthermore, Codemasters has tweaked some aspects of the cars' handling and tire characteristics (like how wets react to a dry track) as well as the modeling on the tracks' curbs and rumble strips.
Multiplayer features full 22-car online races across all its tracks, and the day/night and weather conditions for these can be tweaked in some cases.
Check out the trailer and screenshots below for a little taste of everything F1 2016 has to offer, and look for the game when it releases on August 19 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.