F1 Manager 2022 review: A slow pit stop

F1 Manager 2022 has been a long time coming for avid motorsports fans – you have to go back to the year 2000 when EA released the last official F1 management game. But given that the genre has come a long way in that time, does F1 Manager 2022 do enough to secure its seat for years to come, or does it go off the track a few more times than is ideal for a rookie in its season? debut? ?

There’s a lot of setup going into your first race as there are loads of emails and car development screens to review and analyze but when you finally send your drivers out on the track you’ll be blown away. Sports management games aren’t really known for their graphical fidelity, but whether you’re racing around a rainy Monaco with spray from cars popping the camera pod, or watching the cinematic camera view as the cars slide past the neon. lights at night in Singapore, almost every moment is built for the highlight reel.

Things get a bit tricky when the cars try to overtake, because they move back and forth like they’re jumping from one Scalextric lane to another. Every other typically dramatic moment like crashes and spins suffers the same fate. Cars will often hurtle into the wall only to stop dead in their tracks as if they have no weight or momentum, or if they spin and try to recover they will perform an impossible flip to get back on an angle before hitting the track again. F1 Manager 2022 looks beautiful most of the time, but when it’s supposed to look spectacular, it often unravels spectacularly.

F1 Manager 2022 review: Nicholas Latifi leading a pack of cars around a rainy Baku

But, as the success of Football Manager demonstrates despite its ’90s-looking on-pitch action, it’s the solid management toolset that really counts. On the surface, the F1 Manager 2022 pit is well equipped for strategists and engineers, with the ability to research and develop six individual parts for their cars (front wing, rear wing, chassis, floor, suspension and sidepods), hire new drivers and staff members, choose which facilities you spend your budget on and the ability to run each session during a race weekend.

However, look deeper into the finer details and you’ll find that there are not only gaps, but even inaccuracies that are mind-boggling for an official branded F1 game. The game’s most glaring omission is that drag racing simply doesn’t exist, despite the fact that it has featured in several Grands Prix since last season and is a staple of the sport going forward.

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Die-hard F1 fans will balk at how little effect tire compounds have on lap times, with only a tenth or two of a second difference between hard and soft; the result is actually often more than ten times that. This means that two-stop strategies are essentially never viable unless there is a change in weather conditions, because going from old hard tires to new soft tires, for example, doesn’t have anywhere near the benefit it would in real life. Wet tires are also affected by tire degradation, which is almost non-existent, as a set could easily last a full race if pitting at least once wasn’t mandatory.

F1 Manager 2022 review: Cinematic camera view of Charles Leclerc leading the race

Activating DRS is also absurdly powerful, much more so than in real sport. It results in a bunch of DRS trains throughout a race, with cars overtaking each other at only one or two predetermined overtaking points per circuit. Unless you put your tires, fuel, and ERS on the most aggressive settings, it’s incredibly difficult to get away.

The fact that you need to closely micro-manage your drivers’ ERS settings during a race is also not ideal, because that’s not what a real team manager or race engineer would do. You should be able to tell your drivers whether to collect ERS or use it at their discretion, with the drivers skill rating and attributes determining how effective they are at using it. On the other hand, it is impossible to watch a race at a speed higher than 2x, because you will lose the best opportunities to use ERS.

AI strategies are also unstable, unable to adapt to the changing conditions of a race or react to changes you might make as a player. For example, in one race, Hamilton had a two-stop strategy at Jeddah, but despite a safety car showing up ten laps from the end of the race, he didn’t pit. during the security period, but after him, dropping from a top-five finish to outside the points. Something like this happened at every other race during the 20 or so hours I spent with F1 Manager 2022, though this was arguably the most egregious example. There is another quirk with pace cars, which is that lapped cars do not unbuckle on their own during the pace car. Michael Masi would be proud, but not every race should have the same problem as Abu Dhabi 2021.

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F1 Manager 2022 review: Lando Norris leading the race on a night circuit

However, if you can get past these issues, there’s a lot to love here, and it’s a thrilling experience to nail your pit stop strategy and tire handling during a race and place yourself higher than you should as an underdog, especially if a yellow or red flag spices things up and you are forced to adapt. Researching new car parts, allocating wind tunnel hours and choosing between various priorities to boost different attributes of your car really shows that running an F1 team is a long-term project. New regulations may also come into play each season, proposals that you’ll have the chance to vote for or against, just like in real life, so even if you win the constructors’ championship one season, you might not easy to repeat. Next year.

A special shout must go to the radio messages, because hearing Daniel Ricciardo himself shout “fuck I crashed! I’m fine though” is a great immersive touch. Unfortunately, there are no radio antics like Lando Norris’s line “up and down, side to side, like a roller coaster” or Fernando Alonso stating that Lewis Hamilton “can only start and drive from the start”, but every control of radio or tire warning is awesome. authentic.

I’ve had fun with F1 Manager 2022 so far, but this isn’t a game that was ready for a full release. Fixes are needed, especially when it comes to tire degradation and lap times, before this can be recommended to long-time F1 fans. However, it is the best motorsport management sim available right now, I just wish the authentic feel extends beyond the licences, radio messages and great driver names.

F1 Manager 2022

Magnificent to look at but rather shallow and full of bugs, F1 Manager 2022 needs to improve realism and accuracy before it can take pole position.

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