Reader Submission #128 – The F1 2016 Tire Wear Scandal

f1_2016_hungary_32It appears as if there’s a bit of a PRC Curse floating around the world of sim racing. After praising Stock Car Extreme and trying to host our own league with the generic V8 Supercar Reiza Studios had built for their customers as a free piece of bonus content, the team had their newest title taken off of the Steam Marketplace for a short time due to skirting dangerously close to the official Formula One brand. Upon partnering with Race2Play as our lone official sponsor and publishing an article stating the financial status of the company – including revealing a potential deal which would have seen them pocket a six-figure paycheck from SimRaceway – the online racing hub is instead set to close up shop at the end of the 2016 year. We deemed DiRT Rally our Game of the Year for 2015, but afterwards discovered a set of physics oddities that essentially let you fling your WRC-spec Fiesta around each of the game’s twelve stages with reckless abandon; highly against the spirit of a hardcore racing simulator. And now, the curse has affected Formula One 2016, a game I singled out as the benchmark for the future of racing simulators.

There’s a lot to like about Formula One 2016, so I’ll spare you the details of the full quasi-review published earlier this year and offer a brief summary: the game Formula One fans had been wishing Codemasters could ship since they acquired the license in 2009, finally materialized. It’s not the most accurate simulator, but it damn well gets the job done, and surrounds the core driving model with an impressive career mode that’s much more than just progressing through the current F1 schedule, season after season.

But today’s Reader Submission blows everything wide open. There are fundamental problems with how tire wear is calculated by the EGO Engine powering the Codemasters F1 series, an exploit so horrendous it’s basically broken the competitive element of the game – and Codemasters haven’t addressed the community at all for months.

f1_2016_silverstone_15Hey PRC, I’ve sent in a few submissions about F1 2016 before, and again I want to stay anonymous because of how controversial this glitch is. I’d prefer if people didn’t know I cheated my way to a bunch of wins thanks to an exploit Codemasters seem to have no intentions of patching.

Basically, there is a game-breaking glitch in F1 2016 first discovered by the community in mid-October, and the glitch revolves around a major part of the racing strategy in modern Formula One – tire wear. People have found that the tire wear in Formula One 2016 is determined by the compound you’re starting the race on. If you start on the softest available compound, your tire wear will be through the roof – almost impossible to adequately manage – but if you begin the race on the hardest compound you’re allowed to select from for that particular event, every single tire at your disposal will hardly wear, and you can more or less push at maximum attack for the duration of the race.

What this means is that in league racing, all drivers who start outside the top ten and receive the free tire choice, as per F1 rules, are favorites to win the race, because they can pit one or even two stops less than the front runners, whom are forced to start on the softer compounds. This glitch completely ruins every competitive league in F1 2016, and the fact that Codemasters haven’t bothered to do anything against it in over two months demonstrates that their promise of taking a different approach to F1 games and listening to the community has gone out the window.

forumsThe thread discussing this problem on the official forums is huge, with almost everybody agreeing that it is indeed a major issue that desperately needs to be patched, and many are reporting it has already affected the outcome of their private leagues. You simply cannot play this game competitively anymore. One of the top F1 2016 players on the Xbox One platform, Seiyariu, has created a nice video to demonstrate all of this stuff in action, and his accompanying description is a sign that Codemasters desperately need to intervene to save the F1 2016 community.

As a beta tester for Formula One 2016 myself, and someone who is really involved in the F1 community, I’m quite shocked to be honest. Codemasters rolled out seven patches for the PS4 version in quick succession, and really tackled the problems which would pop up each week just from people sinking so much time into the game and accidentally running into stuff. But for some reason, as you can see from the community manager’s post history, they’ve gone completely silent from October onward. I know that they’re most likely shifting the focus to F1 2017 behind the scenes, but this type of glitch turns a really solid racing game into a bad experience, because I cannot contend for a victory fairly on the highest possible level, knowing my online competitors have basically half the tire wear I’m subjected to.

infoI think the average player might not even notice this glitch, but if you race against some of the best players in the world via private leagues, and victories are stolen from you because someone exploited a flaw in the game to receive substantially less tire wear, then it’s a massive piss off.

ss_2bef4823dbe3cde1d644e806c050a8cbd9eb62c0-1920x1080Thanks for sending this in. I really like these kinds of pieces because they highlight just how passionate some sim racers are to be digging apart a game they otherwise love, and it also sheds light on some of the little tricks that top online racers use – which usually have little to do with the racing itself. I’m sure a lot of F1 2016 owners will be breathing a heavy sign of relief after getting raped in an online league and not being entirely sure why.

My assumptions about why this issue came to be, is that the EGO engine doesn’t natively support tire wear. Remember, when this new game engine first came about, Codemasters had been working on the original DiRT and GRID titles for the Xbox 360 – both of which were games light on simulation value, and instead looked to capitalize on the weird middle ground between Forza and Need for Speed, where people wanted the race cars found in Forza but couldn’t commit to any sort of serious physics engine. I don’t recall DiRT nor GRID featuring tire wear, as most of the races were designed to last around five minutes or so, leading to the theory that the concept of rubber degradation was tacked on after the fact for the F1 games, and they’ve re-written the coding for it every few iterations.

I’m not trying to make excuses for Codemasters, because for it to affect the results of a race in this fashion is exactly as you described it – game breaking – but it’s a starting point to explain how a bug so severe could manifest in the first place. Remember, even DiRT Rally – a so-called hardcore simulator – doesn’t have the ability to adjust tire pressures in the garage menu, or monitor tire wear in each service area; it’s grouped into the all-encompassing “wheels” category. So I’m under the impression that tire wear and the behavior of different compounds is something Codemasters injected into the EGO Engine they use for all their games, and they simply did it in a fashion that royally fucks up the online playing field.

So I guess you might not ever see a fix for this, but I do indeed advise you to continue pestering them on the official forums, because this is like, pretty fucking bad if people are running the exact same compounds, setups, and as close to a conservative driving style as they can, yet receiving drastically different tire readouts. I mean, people are banned from rFactor leagues for using third party ram hacks to accomplish what appears to be baked into F1 2016 by default, so hopefully Codemasters shows up and rectifies everything.



47 thoughts on “Reader Submission #128 – The F1 2016 Tire Wear Scandal

  1. This is textbook Codemasters behavior. Patch the game several times shortly after release, then after a couple months you’re on your own. They won’t even acknowledge complaints of bugs or suggestions or anything. Probably they can’t really fix it but are too embarrassed to admit it. Bad strategy in my opinion; I’d respect them more if they were just honest about it. This seems to happen with every game they put out. F1 2016 is basically abandonware at this point. They’ve already moved on to the 2017 game I’m sure.


  2. In other news Call of duty’s realistic ballistics actually arent at all realistic, and it turns out SWAT teams dropped the tactic of 360 no scopes 10 years ago, who would of thought……

    Seriously some people choose to endure poor Games for a proper a sim, instead of enduring poor simulation in their game, its a choice, we haven’t got best of both worlds yet, why would codemasters get tyre wear right when 90 per cent of sim devs struggle, and they put a lot of resources in that kind of thing, this should surprise no one.


      1. One does not simply argue with QUF, you simply post a logical comment, and read some random essay much about nothing in response, maybe his points get lost in translation.


      1. True. They could just remove the restrictions, then everyone could run the same tires. Problem solved. But then people would bitch about the tires still not wearing correctly.


  3. Other than Iracing which developer really pays attention to the few players who race online?It does not generate much income so they don’t bother to patch it.
    At least PRC exposing it will let everyone use this exploit.


  4. Sounds familiar

    F1 2010 – Glitch setup – put rear spring on 1 – instant massive time gains
    F1 2011 – Glitch setup – 11/11 Tyres (or was it 11/1) – instant massive time gains
    F1 2012 – More glitch setups, plus the ability to cut every corner at tracks like Melbourne.

    I didn’t bother after this, but it really doesn’t surprise me with CM.


  5. It’s not about being a sim or not a sim. Many ppl want a simcade approach from the F1 games because they have to be mass market products.

    This is just an unfair advantage for the “bad” players, because a good quali is penalised with high tyre wear

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it simulates all the atoms in the tyre, like rf2’s thermocanonical tyre model super heated at light speed makes the tyres in rf2 travel at the same speed as the milky way galaxy. And it is misinformation if you say they work with lookup tables, rf2’s tyre model is first simulated at CERN’s LHC, which is what helped discover the god particle, hence rf2’s tyre model being thermocanonical.


  6. Grid Autosport had tyre wear in their endurance races (though no pit stops, presumably also due to engine limitations), but I can’t remember if that was just scripted, i.e. a number that just decreased over time, or actually organic wear that was reflective of your driving.


  7. “Honestly, what are we doing? Racing or ping-pong?”

    -Sebastian VETTEL, Spanish GP 2016

    Now, we have the very same issue with iRacing had, only with issue about tyre sets.

    Honestly, just… Honestly.


  8. How did PRC not catch this in their own extensive review of the game?

    How many physics bugs lay uncovered in brick rigs? I feel like I can no longer trust this websites simulation value assessments.


  9. So James called dirt rally a hardcore simulator, well dirt rally is a hardcore simulator, is hard to drive and not as approachable as dirt 3. But brick rigs is the hardest simulator to exist due to its day and night cycle, rain and snow simulation, and realistic lego bricks damage. James, I want to hear more brick rigs facts because I’m undecided if I should invest in a DD wheel for brick rigs.


  10. “And now, the curse has affected Formula One 2016, a game I singled out as the benchmark for the future of racing simulators.”

    I stopped playing it, because it´s not a Sim, it´s pure Simcade with broken physics. Both of (not only my) pedals always have a huge dead zone you can´t get rid off. Something about 25% initial travel is just dead and than boom. Impossible to modulate throttle and break properly and that´s why it´s so hard to drive these cars without assists. Turning on TC making it driveable, but boring.


    1. If you can´t drive F1 2016 you are useless, period.

      The cars are indeed prone to wheelspin but you´re given infinite chances to recover, any sort of movement from the wheel to the other side or any sort of lift and you´re back on control. You also get all the time in the World to correct and you can come back from stupid slip angles.

      And the brakes, you can enter every corner with the front inside tyre locked without it hurting your line.


        1. Not getting fun of a game is one thing, not being able to drive it it´s another. The second should not be happening with F1 16. The first is fully understandable though 🙂


  11. wow this is one of the most embarrassingly huge bugs I’ve ever heard of…and they’ve known about it for 2 months? wow. wow. wow.


      1. I’ve changed my mind. We should thank and worship the devs for going to all these efforts to provide us with a fundamentally broken official F1 game. But no-one else provides an official F1 game at all so we should be very thankful and buy their products and compliment the devs, and maybe even send donations to them as well for being so generous as to provide us with this deeply flawed product.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re being over the top. Feels like a bug of properties inheritance from the first selected tyre compound and the wearing properties inherit to the other compounds when you make a pit stop for tyres. This is a technical bug and the usual folks take every chance to use their pitch forks.


          1. The bug was brought to their attention over 2 months ago and their latest response yesterday was that they’re “looking into it” but wouldn’t confirm whether it will ever be fixed in F1 2016 however they’ll make sure it is “in future projects.”

            Do you consider that satisfactory? Hmm


        2. “so we should be very thankful and buy their products and compliment the devs”

          So should we thank you for offering us an amazing product and simulation? Oh right, you’re just sitting there being a prick about others work. James won’t like this post because I’m not being ironic about sim racing games, which makes me a sheep. Sim racing community of today: be a prick, shit on the sims, make bad quality criticism, be ‘loud’ and constantly repeat “facts” about simulation value, say devs don’t know anything, be ironic, never present real evidence but say that you know the sim is wrong and that there is evidence. This makes you a revolutionary in sim racing. (fact: it does not, it makes you look stupid and uneducated).


            1. If the food is spoiled take your plate and show them. If you don’t like the food because is not for your taste, then the problem is because of you, order something else next time.

              Do you think the devs don’t know when something is working well or not in the game? Nobody said you need to be a kiss ass or give them donations if there is a bug in the game or a feature that doesn’t work well as supposed to. Just report the bug, say what you think is wrong in the game with as much details as you can, and possibly give suggestions if you can think of any, but no need to be ironic or arrogant just because the game has flaws.

              You just don’t compare sim racing games to any ordinary meal, you compare them to high cuisine. High cuisine is a special art of knowing how well to cook the ingredients, how much of each, how to combine tastes or make a theme, how to design the food on the plate.
              Sim racing takes very special skills and knowledge of car simulation, physics, mathematics, data acquiring, and programming. So you kinda need to have knowledge and experience of high cuisine to know how to criticize properly. But if you just want to criticize the game aspect, you can, in the end your criticism is just subjective and everyone has different opinions on how the game should be, but criticizing simulation is not for everyone. About bugs, those you just report.






                1. I’m replying to this post, not about f1 2016 bug reported in this article:
                  “I’ve changed my mind. We should thank and worship the devs for going to all these efforts to provide us with a fundamentally broken official F1 game. But no-one else provides an official F1 game at all so we should be very thankful and buy their products and compliment the devs, and maybe even send donations to them as well for being so generous as to provide us with this deeply flawed product.”

                  Nobody said you should be thankful, make them statues, or send donations. Are you really that THICK to think devs put bugs and flaws intentionally to screw over the players? They can’t confirm whether it will be fixed because they didn’t find a solution for it or whatever other reason about this situation. Nobody said you should thank and worship the devs because there’s a bug and no plan to fix it. You’re just going crazy right now and should take a break.


          1. Also there’s plenty of evidence for this bug presented in the article, and easily testable yourself (I have replicated it myself too). I don’t see what your point is.


  12. Am i correct to assume the tire model is the same offline as it is to online? i.e. is this also an issue in career mode or quick race?


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