Formula One cracks down on racing game mods

More than 30 pages of mods for three racing simulations, two of them licensed Formula One video games, have been taken down on the demand of F1’s rights holder, enraging some in the sim racing community.

The mods were listed in a forum thread at RaceDepartment, a racing news and community portal, and concerned the racing games Automobilista, F1 2013 and F1 2014on PC. Many of the mods updated the liveries and decal positions for real-world cars licensed to appear in the two F1 titles.

The sim racing site Pretend Race Cars inveighed bitterly against the move, calling it “a power tripping exercise on F1’s part,” though conceding the takedown demand was “technically justified from a legal standpoint.” Formula One World Championship Limited owns the rights to the cars and teams participating in their championship series.

PRC noted that Codemasters’ F1 series ships each year with a fictitious livery for the Williams team, and users manually edit the vehicle’s design so that races conform to reality. F1’s stance here effectively forbids that, though this would really only catch the racing body’s attention if a mod was shared.

All of the mods appear to have been available for free, but F1’s interest in taking them down has little to do with someone making money off their intellectual property, and probably more with making sure the latest version of its licensed game, F1 2015, is the only option for up-to-date liveries and racing teams.