Four years into Codemasters' tenure on the F1 beat, and it's become easy to take these games for granted - and just as easy to forget that even before the sport's three-year-long hiatus, the games it produced were all tainted with a certain mediocrity.
Both F1 2010 and F1 2011 halted that decline in some fashion, but now, for the third instalment in the HD series, Codemasters' Birmingham studio has to dig deep to deliver a new game that can justify its existence. F1 2012, the team believes, presents a much bigger leap forward than that seen between the previous two games.
It helps, of course, that it's going to be replicating what's been one of the more bizarre and quite often outright thrilling seasons that the sport has ever seen. F1's not been short of classic championships these past few years, and Codemasters was lucky enough to pick up the sport just as it was breaking out of its noughties slumber, but 2012 has rarely been anything short of spectacular.
It's easy to forget that, three years back, it came as something of a shock to see Codemasters forgoing the expertise of its racing arm and farming out its newly acquired F1 license to its newly acquired Birmingham studio, an outfit that in its previous life had made the ultimate guilty pleasure in 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand. Fiddy's game certainly had a taste for excess and a questionable sense of politics, but that's where any similarities with the F1 world came to an end.
Three years on and Codemasters Birmingham has established itself as one of the brightest stars in the fast-dimming world of racing games. F1 2010 and 2011 went on to receive deserved critical and commercial success, and can lay claim to being the best take on the sport since Geoff Crammond worked the beat.
Third time around, though, and there's a growing concern that perhaps F1 isn't a diverse enough experience to maintain the yearly churn that such a big sports license dictates - and perhaps Codemasters doesn't have same kind of resources to throw at the series as EA does with FIFA, making for a game that's in danger of getting stuck in its own pretty little rut.