Fans of Formula 1 sim racing games have suffered a major setback as RaceDepartment, a site that serves as a content nexus for a great number of racing sims, has taken down a large number of mods for two of Codemasters’ Formula 1 games and Reiza Studio’s Automobilista after being served a cease and desist order from the commercial rights holder for the sport.
Some of the mods in question provided an ‘update’ of sorts for players of the popular F1 2013 and 2014 and Automobilista, allowing players to replace the now-dated cars with the machines from the current Formula 1 season. These mods did not have an official endorsement or licensing from Formula One World Championships Ltd, who hold the commercial rights to all F1-related media, including TV coverage, videos and clearly, the video games. This hasn’t gone down well with the community, with some taking to blogging platforms to vocalise their rage at the takedowns.
It is unsurprising that RaceDepartment took down the mods, as their terms of service state that “when creating or uploading free to use mods, car skins, helmets, cars, tracks etc users should seek official permission first from the copyright or trademark holders.” This was obviously not respected by the uploaders of these mods, with Codemasters being the only group to produce official F1 games. While some may see the mods as breathing life into older F1 games, it also deters purchases of the new season’s related game if all the cars and tracks are available in the older games.
With so much drama occurring within Formula 1 lately, paired with falling popularity due to changes in the sport’s rules, a move like this against fans could be seen to have come at a bad time for the sport. While it may seem painful to the modders, who clearly spent a lot of time and effort developing content related to one of their favourite sports, perhaps they should have seen this coming.