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February 2023

F1 Manager 2022

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Management
Developer: Frontier Developments
Release Date: Aug. 30, 2022

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


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PC Review - 'F1 Manager 2022'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on Dec. 28, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Make your mark on Formula 1 in the officially licensed F1 Manager 2022 as you choose your team and be the boss with the full 2022 roster of staff and drivers.

With the 2022 season all wrapped up, what's a Formula 1 fan to do? There are more direct options to scratch that racing itch, but F1 Manager 2022 is something rather different. In this game, you don't ever take the wheel, but you have a deeper role in running the team, even when compared to something like the Career mode of F1 22. During the races, you are responsible for the strategy for both drivers on your team. It can be a lot on your shoulders, but achieving a podium finish or a race win is often due to all the little things you got right.

In the game, you take over as the team principal for one of the real-life Formula 1 teams that participated in the 2022 season. There's no option to create an 11th team; it's about whether you want to take on the pressure and performance of an established team like Red Bull, a lower-level team like Haas, or prove that even you can be a better strategy caller than Ferrari. For each team, you start with the three drivers that the team started with at the outset of the 2022 season, but from there, drivers can switch around or be replaced, and the game progression can and will differ from reality.

One touch of reality that makes F1 Manager 2022 distinct is that it includes a lot of authentic voices, not only for the announcers like David Croft but also for all the drivers and their race engineers. In my career, I tried to bring Haas to prominence, and it was nice to hear the voices of the actual drivers giving their feedback to me during races. It's not incredibly complex, and a lot of the phrases can be somewhat vague, but realistically, the developers weren't going to get those folks to record tons of lines.

It adds a level of authenticity to the game that other titles simply don't have. Motorsport Manager is a favorite game of mine, and while you can slap any number of Formula 1 mods onto it, the result is just … Motorsport Manager with different names and graphics. With this game, you're getting all of the same intros, music, lead-ups, and presentation that you get when watching the races on TV. There's a lot of polish that was put into the game in this regard.

It's easy to continue to directly compare F1 Manager 2022 to Motorsport Manager . The two are very similar from a gameplay perspective (though they have nuances), they look similar, and chances are decent that if you're someone interested in this game, you at least are familiar with the other. If anything, F1 Manager 2022 takes a lot of the things that worked well in the other game as an inspiration and expanded upon them.

For example, car setup is just as complex and has you tweaking the car's front wing angle, rear wing angle, anti-roll, tire camber, and tire toe out. The optimal settings for all of these will be different for every racetrack, and to an extent, for every driver and their own styles. It's up to you to create the setup and send your drivers out on their practice runs that are long enough to get good feedback. Once back, the drivers give their input across five categories: braking, cornering, oversteer, straights and traction. This input is just a single word for each: good, great, optimal, or just plain bad. You can certainly do all the trial and error yourself, but if car setup isn't your thing, there are websites like that take the guesswork out of it.

Practice is about building your driver's confidence in the setup, their knowledge of the track, and their knowledge of the current car parts. All of these contribute directly to their pace in qualifying and during the race itself. However, tires burned up during practice can't be used for the rest of the race weekend, so you must be judicious with your choices. If a driver pushes too hard and spins into a wall, a broken front wing is still a broken front wing, regardless of which day it occurs.

Qualifying is all about sending your drivers in the best conditions and with the best setup possible, to get as fast of a lap time as possible. There's a lot of strategy involved between keeping an eye on how much traffic is predicted on the course, the weather and track conditions, the level of grip predicted on the track's surface, and what the other teams are doing for performance. If you're a bottom-feeder team, you're fighting for every position in qualifying, while a top-tier team may put down a decent first attempt in a qualifying session and skate by into the next round to save your tires.

For the race, you must choose a pit strategy for each driver. This involves choosing which tires they start on, which tires they should pit for a which lap number, and what their driving style should be for each of those stints. The resulting tire life graph takes all of that into account to give you a decent idea of how well your strategy might work, but race conditions, such as pushing harder than intended to overtake another vehicle or going easier due to safety conditions, will throw a wrench in your plan. As with many aspects of a race in F1 Manager 2022, your success often comes down to how well you can adapt on the fly to ever-changing factors that affect the race.

For each driver, you can set three major directives: pace, fuel mixture, and ERS settings. Pace is a five-level setting that tells the driver how aggressive to be. At higher settings, the driver takes more risks and will go faster, but tire wear and temperatures will be higher, and there's a higher chance of having an incident. Fuel has only three settings, with the middle one being "normal," the higher one burning more fuel to boost performance, and the lower conserving fuel but negatively impacting the pace.

Finally, the ERS setting is somewhat complicated at first, but you quickly realize how powerful it is. Normally a car's ERS setting is "Neutral," in which drivers use the electronic system to supplement the car's power but only use as much power as they regenerate during a lap to keep the net power level even. There are three settings that use more power for overtaking, defending against overtakes, or deploying it for speed. The fifth setting is "Harvest," which tells a driver to use as little power as possible to bring the overall level back up after a couple of laps.

All these settings can be changed at any time, and they can be changed as many times as you like. You'll keep an eye on the interval time of your driver, and once you notice that they are in a good spot for an overtake and a DRS zone is coming up, you can tell them to attack and set ERS to overtake to make the move. For the most part, any time you spend extra energy, you'll need to spend some time harvesting it so it's ready for later in the race, and this comes at a performance cost. Is your car fast enough that you can tell the driver to burn more fuel to offset the difference? Do you have enough fuel to do that? Do your tires have some extra life, so the driver can push like crazy? You'll repeatedly think about all of this, and for each driver, during every race.

The graphics in F1 Manager 2022 are quite good, with the cars and the tracks being faithful reproductions, given that you aren't ever up close to the cars. It makes crashes look fairly odd, though; the game effectively decides that a crash needs to occur, and rarely do the cars look that believable in the replays. It's a minor gripe, but it is always chuckle-worthy. It speaks to how good the game looks if that's about the worst criticism of it, but the UI during a race often covers up the bottom part of the live standings. When you're playing as Haas in 2022, you need to be able to see that part!

Your decision-making is just as important outside of races. First, you have to manage team finances, and upgrading facilities may benefit team morale or performance, but it comes at a hefty cost, a good chunk out of your season budget cap, and a higher monthly cost once the upgrade is complete. You can choose which parts on the car your engineers should revise, but unlike other games of the genre, you also have to manufacture that design once it's complete. Only made one of a new front wing and Mick Schumacher destroyed it in a crash at the end of practice? Guess he's back to running the old one until you can manufacturer some more.

The biggest flaw of F1 Manager 2022 may also be one of its strengths; it's absolutely geared toward fans of Formula One. There are no GT or Indy racing leagues here, and even for what is represented, it is as true to life as possible. It's the real teams, the real drivers, and there's no room for deviation from this facet of motorsport. If you really love F1, this isn't a problem, but going back to comparisons to other games, this may feel limiting for players who similarly want to be able to manage a team across differing racing disciplines.

To that end, I love Motorsport Manager, but really I played it because it was the closest modern sim that had something akin to Formula One cars. F1 Manager 2022 drives a perfect line by clearly taking some inspiration both from that game as well as from the series' own (distant) past, but it feels like something fresh. Every element of it feels refined in a way that is clearly specific to the real-life sport, and it is both defined by and pays homage to reality. It's a game that has shockingly few true flaws, and while it is also very much geared toward a specific crowd, I had a great time elevating Haas to (just a little bit more) glory.

Score: 9.0/10

Reviewed on: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, 32 GB RAM, NVidia RTX 3080

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