F1 Manager 22 review: The perfect game for Formula 1 obsessives

In October 2000, EA Sports published F1 Manager, a racing simulator in which players took over the management of a real Formula One team. 22 years later, it finally has a continuation. And it’s fantastic.

Netflix’s Featured Docuseries drive to survive has led to a massive rise in the popularity of F1, especially in the United States. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and there’s another new game hoping to capitalize on the wave of interest. F1 Manager 22The new simulator from Frontier Developments (best known for the Planet Coaster and Planet Zoo series) brings the complex and detail-rich world of Formula 1 to life with tons of data, a beautiful presentation and a user-friendly interface that welcomes players of all levels of experience and familiarity.

In F1 Manager 22, players race any of the 10 F1 teams. As team manager, you control the team’s preparation and race strategy, improve personnel (through development or new hires), upgrade the team’s car and facilities, make sponsor deals, and much more. Since this is a management simulator, you won’t be driving yourself, but you still have a lot of control over the driver’s performance in the race by setting their strategy, giving them the correct car setup, and even micromanaging their tire, fuel, and energy usage. .

The splash screen in F1 Manager 22, with Mercedes as the player-controlled team

Image: Border Developments

In the time between the original F1 Manager and the new release, motorsports management simulator enthusiasts settled for motoring manager. Initially a mobile game, motoring manager it did not have the rights to real-life F1 drivers, teams or tracks, but instead existed in a fictionalized version of the world of F1. The game has finally received a PC version, and it has an active modding community that regularly adds real-life F1 drivers and teams (but not race tracks) to the game. Despite those best efforts, there has always been a gap between what the game had to offer and the level of immersion fans wanted.

That is one of the many areas in which F1 Manager 22 thrive As well as securing the rights to the names and likenesses of the teams and drivers, the game also features real-life team engineers and staff. Its inclusion is a blessing in its own right, especially in the attachment it forms while improving its stats over time. The drivers can get the glory, but F1 is a team sport at heart. And the use of in-game audio pushes that connection even further.

The pleasant buzz of a racing car is an integral part of any racing game, but F1 Manager 22 adds another layer of realism: real team radio exchanges between drivers and engineers. Every time you give your driver an instruction (such as “lift the pedal a little higher” or “press for a position here”), you’ll hear the voice of the (real) engineer from your (real) team giving that instruction, and the (real) driver’s (real) voice response. It’s one of many little frills that combine to absolutely engulf you in what is basically a role-playing fantasy. (If the chatter makes you nervous, you can always play around with the audio settings.)

In-game image of F1 Manager 22, seeing an Alpine about to climb Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps

Image: Border Developments

Screenshot of a night race in F1 Manager 22

Image: Border Developments

However, the game not only sounds like the real deal, it looks better than any sports management sim to date. With a heavy emphasis on statistics and data, most games in the sports management simulation genre tend to resemble spreadsheets. But F1 Manager 22The racing sequences are almost indistinguishable from those of EA Sports. F1 22 racing game. Cars and tracks come to life with stunning visual clarity, making racing enjoyable to watch as you try to chart your way to victory.

The presence of the actual tracks greatly contributes to this visual immersion. All the quirks and sights of some of the world’s most famous race tracks are in the game, from Casino Monte Carlo in Monaco to the rolling hills of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Heavy data management simulators can be overwhelming for new players, and one of the most commendable parts of F1 Manager 22 it’s how adaptable the experience is. The game has all the essential details that F1 obsessives will want to dive into, but almost everything in the game has some degree of automation available for people who just want to dabble. Just want to set a tire strategy? You can do that. Want to micromanage every sector of every lap? You can do that too.

Team selection screen in F1 Manager 22, with Aston Martin selected.

Image: Border Developments

Team selection page in F1 Manager 22, with Red Bull selected

Image: Border Developments

Maybe F1 Manager 22‘s greatest achievement is how accessible it is to so many fields, from management veterans to F1 devotees and swaths of new fans the sport has gained in recent years. The management simulator genre can be overwhelming for new players, and F1 Manager 22 tackle this from the start. The opening team selection screen gives you a rundown of the strengths, weaknesses, and goals of each of the potential teams you could play as. As you hover over each team, a voice-over from F1 commentator David Croft plays giving you more information on the current status of the team and how it got there. As you set up your first match, the game will teach you both about its own systems and the general rules of F1 racing.

It’s been a long, long time since F1 fans had a licensed management sim that lived up to the dramatic highs of reality. The recent explosion of interest paved the way for the perfect time to return to this style of F1 gameplay. But even more impressive than its timing is its execution, which leaves very little to be desired. It has been a wait of more than two decades, but it was worth it.

F1 Manager 22 was released on August 30 on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The game was reviewed on PC using a pre-release download code provided by Frontier Developments. Vox Media has affiliate associations. These do not influence editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. You can find additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy here.

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