Frontier Developments has finally filled the void of an officially licensed Formula 1 management game over 20 years after a game was last adapted for this niche.
This means that F1 Manager 2022, thanks to technological advancements, is in many ways automatically better than anything that came before it.
That doesn’t mean it’s beyond criticism, though, especially since it’s comparable to Playsport Games’ PC game Motorsport Manager, released in 2016. There are more than just passing similarities between the two games and if you’ve played Motorsport Manager before, then you’ll be very familiar with the menu layout and micro-management needed during race weekends in F1 Manager 2022.
If you haven’t tried out the Motorsport Manager series, you can choose to have a tutorial at the start of the game. the 2022 season.
If you’re new to these kinds of games and play on a console, you’ll find that navigating the menus is more tedious than playing on PC with a mouse and keyboard.
What was repeatedly emphasized by Frontier before its release was the term “authenticity”. There is no doubt that their attempts with the on-track presentation as the game reproduces, not only the FOM TV graphics, but also the camera angles used, including those at the side of the track as well as a handful of boardings selectable.
You’ll also hear David Croft and Karun Chandhok introduce each session and provide a bit of analysis on what happened previously. Even during a race, you’ll get brief snippets of commentary from Croft, along with a replay you can choose to watch, whenever there’s action on the track like a lockup, crash or position change. for one of your pilots.
Graphically, the game is impressive for a management title and the pre-release of the game generated a lot of hype from some of the early screenshots that were shared. On the move, although the game isn’t as stunning.
There are sudden, violent steering commands from the drivers as they pull back to pass another driver and in general the movement of the cars isn’t as smooth as if you were watching a race replayed from a normal racing game. It’s not a huge shock if you’ve ever played or watched a video of a Football Manager game, as the player animations are much stiffer in this series than they are in FIFA.
What’s harder to excuse are the crash animations. Those involving multiple cars are better produced, even if they all look suspiciously similar to each other. It’s the one-off car crashes that don’t look believable at all. Almost everyone sees a driver driving straight into a barrier without even appearing to brake. You are also supposed to believe that most of the time the pilot is able to continue and has only suffered damage to the front wing.
A few dodgy animations aside, supporting your team during races can be extremely fun. The emphasis is on the word “may” because that’s not always the case in the same way that not all real grand prizes are brimming with action.
But an Azerbaijan Grand Prix that included three safety car periods, with both Red Bulls failing to finish and Valtteri Bottas taking the bottom step of the podium with Kevin Magnussen in fourth – stands out as a highlight and shows how engaging this game can be when the on-track action lives up to its potential.
Perhaps the decision to manage Williams and abandon development of the current car before the end of the first season made racing less exciting than if there was more at stake on a personal level.
But that’s where the off-track part of the game comes in and is just as important, if not more so, than what happens during race weekends. The main recurring tasks you will have will be designing or researching new parts, manufacturing newly designed parts and researching potential new employees.
The actual limits of CFD and wind tunnel testing are in-game, although they are subject to change by rule changes. That’s not the only thing that may change as in the first season of this particular game, a change in the low speed wing regulations, as well as a cost cap reduction of $5 million, were both adopted.
Beyond that, the prize money distribution, the number of powertrain components a team is allowed to use per season, and even the point system may change. In fact, the only rule change for 2023 that was voted on but failed to gain majority support in The Race simulation was the return of double points for the final race. The fastest lap bonus point can be removed and a bonus point for pole position can be voted.
That’s as far as the rule changes go though. So if you’re expecting something a lot punchier like the introduction of spec parts or something a lot more left-wing like reverse starting grids or sprinklers, which were all in Motorsport Manager, then you’ll be disappointed. To be fair to Frontier, this is probably an unavoidable consequence of the Formula 1 license.
On the other hand, you can see the 10 actual Formula 1 teams change significantly. Even after just one season, Pierre Gasly had moved to Alpine, Fernando Alonso to Alfa Romeo, Sebastian Vettel and Zhou Guanyu are now teammates at AlphaTauri and Yuki Tsunoda at Aston Martin. Not to mention that Stoffel Vandoorne has joined Haas to become its reserve driver.
It’s not just the drivers who move the teams around as each team also employs a technical manager, an aerodynamics manager and two race engineers. A notable change is Simone Resta, who starts the game as Haas’ technical chief, moving to McLaren for the second season.
The impacts of these behind-the-scenes personnel changes aren’t as obvious, but Ferrari’s head of aerodynamics choosing to step down from F1, forcing it to get a lower-rated replacement, means the Scuderia would have to be on a downward trajectory.
This is more theory than a concrete answer, as the time it takes to complete a single season is significant enough that we’re still only in our second year of career mode, even after 14 hours of time. of game.
The amount of time you’ll need to dive into F1 Manager 2022 to really get anything out of it is considerable. Unlike old F1 management games, you can’t just simulate a full Grand Prix weekend and get a set of race results.
You have to sit in every race yourself and even if you let the game simulate training and qualifying for you and then go through each race at 16x the speed with minimal micro-management during it, you’re talking always at least 15 minutes from the start of one grand prize to the start of the next.
In a 22-race season, that’s almost six hours at the absolute minimum. But you’d be compromising yourself if you didn’t take part in testing and take the time to fine-tune a car’s settings, as anyone who’s played Motorsport Manager knows.
If you participate in trials for each grand prize, you can triple the time it would take to make a season, so somewhere in the region of 6 p.m. This is even if you pay very little attention to the running action and speed up time with each run.
Playing F1 Manager 2022 for multiple seasons will be a serious commitment. That’s not to say it won’t appeal to a lot of people, as the legions of people who put countless hours into the Football Manager series prove, but at least in Football Manager you can make every match take much less time and you can even go on vacation and let the game run the whole season for you if you wish.
Given how uncompetitive Williams was for the second half of the year, a way to speed up the much more interesting second season would have been appreciated. Or maybe even the ability to switch teams, which you can do in Motorsport Manager and Football Manager but not in this game.
Another feature of Football Manager is the ability to watch match highlights after each match has finished, whereas in F1 Manager 2022 you either have to watch the highlight during the brief amount of time it gives you or you never see it.
There are some slight issues like the omission of sprint races, how seemingly easy it is to make a profit, and the fact that, at least in our second season run, the ratings of the four different engines haven’t changed at all. That said, that didn’t stop us from steering Williams away from Mercedes engines to the more powerful Red Bull Powertrains engines.
When the stars align and you’re an F1 fan with enough time to dedicate yourself to F1 Manager 2022, this game can be really gripping.
For instance; watching Pierre Gasly retain second place in a Japanese Grand Prix in the rain by not using intermediaries and just getting wet. Or Max Verstappen starting from the back of the field in Singapore before climbing the ladder and finally crashing into his teammate and being forced to retire.
F1 Manager 2022 does not have the same level of freedom and the same range of possibilities as Motorsport Manager, is not as granular as Football Manager and requires much more time to invest in it than in previous F1 management games under official license.
If the idea of an officially licensed F1 management game sounds like you, then more than likely it will. It’s by no means perfect, but that doesn’t stop us from having fun trying to turn a lagging team into championship contenders and watching what the world of Formula 1 has in store for us on and off the track.
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