Jonathan M. Gitlin
Perhaps the most important thing about F1 2021 is that Codemasters has not messed with the actual mechanics of driving the car much, beyond tweaks necessary for the 2021-spec cars. With a good force-feedback wheel, the cars are engaging to drive, and you can feel subtleties in cars from different teams—a McLaren handles differently to an Alpine to a Red Bull to a Mercedes, as you'd hope they would. If you're a fan of the sport, you'll probably enjoy playing F1 2021.
I've not driven an F1 car in real life, but I do get to play a fair few different racing games each year, and I'm happy to report that F1 2020 is up there with the best of them in terms of fun. It's incredible engaging with a wheel and pedals, and you can customize the game to match the difficulty level you're looking for. It looks good and sounds as good as you can hope a turbocharged hybrid F1 car to sound.
Further ReadingLogitech G29 and G920 racing wheels coming to PS4 and Xbox One [Updated]I played the game mostly with a Logitech G29, which might be the optimum way to experience it. Be warned—the game only supports a handful of wheels, although there are a number of adapters you can find online for $50-$60 that should let you use an unapproved one. (We make no promises about the ease of use with any of those, however.) Additionally, you have many fewer settings to tweak compared to Forza or Project CARS, but the flip-side of that is that setting up a wheel is easy, and I had no complaints with feel or force-feedback.
If you're an F1 fan then it's probably a no-brainer. It has the latest tracks, includes all the latest rules, and the current line up of teams and drivers. If you're not an F1 fan but still like racing games it's still probably worth your time, thanks to an engaging career mode and enough granularity in the settings to make you work for that win.