Formula One is to have its first official computer game in more than two years next season following the capture of a new official licencing deal with British gaming company Codemasters, autosport.com can reveal.
With Sony having published the most recent official F1 game last summer, based on the 2006 season and available only on PlayStation consoles, Codemasters' deal will see F1 return to a multiformat platform for the first time in many years.
The game is set to be available on all major home consoles, as well as handheld and PC gaming formats.
After weeks of discussion between Codemasters and Formula One Administration, it is anticipated that the company will produce the first game next year, based on the 2009 F1 season. This will be the first game that Lewis Hamilton will appear in.
Rod Cousens, chief executive officers of Codemasters, said: "Formula One is ambitious in expanding its reach with more circuits planned beyond recent additions in the Middle East and China. It is also ambitious in expanding its reach via technology.
"The digital communities that computer and video gaming creates will play a key role in further growing the F1 audience and connecting them globally.
"As a world-leading creator of driving games, this alliance with F1 is the jewel in Codemasters' racing crown and creates an undisputed segment champion."
Chris Deering, chairman of Codemasters, added: "Codemasters' success and recent innovations in the racing game space makes the company more than appropriately tuned for the challenge.
"The combination of F1's new momentum of expansion and Codemasters' contemporary technology and past experience is the breaking of a new dawn for the sport, on the track and on the HD game screen."
Codemasters Studios has already begun preparations for the major task of creating the new game, by strengthening their team with personnel from the now defunct Sega Racing Studio.
There are 350 people working on the project, which will be based on the EGO Engine that Codemasters has put to good use on the Colin McRae: DIRT and soon-to-be-released Race Driver: GRID titles.