Formula 1 is a rich man’s game. No matter how you look at it, you have to have money to succeed. However, it somehow still resonates with ordinary people. As such, it has a massive following that adores every adrenaline-fuelled moment. The gaming community within this fanbase will be champing at the bit when they hear about F1 Manager 2022. No longer will they have to be a voyeur of this great sporting franchise. No, instead, they will lead from the front and rule the roost.
Developed and published by Frontier Developments, this is an ultra-realistic sports simulation title. What’s more, it relies heavily on a strategic mindset, a good understanding of F1 mechanics, and a love of facts and figures. Its action is a nice blend of slow methodical planning and fast-paced and exciting racing. Consequently, it’ll get your juices flowing and will make you feel ultra-competitive.
F1 Manager 2022 wasn’t overwhelming.
Whenever the term “ultra-realistic” is used in the description, I begin to worry. I always imagine an overbearing, information-heavy title that’ll confuse me instantly. Fortunately, F1 Manager 2022 wasn’t like that. Yes, there is a lot to do, and you can dive as deep as you like, but there is also a sweet spot where the action and information are nicely balanced.
The gameplay focuses on a new team principal, and that is you. As a rookie, you have a point to prove and a desire to succeed. Strangely, you are free to choose any team that takes your fancy. Accordingly, you don’t have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Of course, each particular team has goals and a budget that adds challenge and makes things more interesting.
Once your team is selected, you can run through the fundamentals or jump straight into the action. I went for the tutorial as there was a lot to learn and I wanted to succeed. Luckily, the tutorial is informative, well-delivered, and sets you up nicely. However, the fun starts once you start racing.
R&D, budgets, and the board.
Racing is a massive part of the game. Yet, this management sim is all about the rounded experience. Subsequently, you have plenty of plates to spin if you wish to be successful. The key areas revolve around technology, money, and your bosses.
Fans of F1 never tire of upgraded parts. Fortunately, F1 Manager 2022 allows you to create a competitive and dreamy car. With a hefty focus on performance and R&D, you can iron out your weaknesses and smash the field. However, you must plan wisely, otherwise, you’ll run out of time and your plans quickly turn to crap. Accordingly, you won’t be able to resolve every issue you have, and you must prioritise key areas.
Unsurprisingly, money is a big factor in any decision you make. You may wish to make a new chassis, engine, or suspension, but without funds, it’s a no-go. As such, you must race hard, appease your sponsors, and balance the books. Failure to do so will upset your bosses, and that isn’t good.
The people at the top care not for excuses. Instead, they want results! If you deliver and keep everyone happy, they’ll fund your projects, and keep you employed. But if you make too many errors or have disgruntled staff, your reputation will be damaged and your career is over.
The race weekend.
Though budgets and bosses weigh heavy on your mind, the thrill of F1 Manager 2022 is the race weekend. With tons of information to absorb, parts to trial, tracks to learn, and test drivers to bed in, it’s a crazy balancing act. Alongside this, there is qualifying to contend with, strategies to plan, and the all-important race to win.
Every session, bar the race, can be controlled or simulated. This was great, as you had as much or as little input as you like. However, once race day arrives, you need to be alert. Your strategy can go tits up immediately because things rarely go according to plan. Consequently, you must prepare to change everything at the last minute and this makes it exhilarating. Holding off your rivals to benefit your number 1 driver is sly, underhand, but oh so rewarding.
However, incidents ruin the greatest of plans. It was brilliantly infuriating when things fell apart and sponsor deals were lost. Your drivers can be wiped out by other racers, poor conditions, or ill planning. This was phenomenal, as it kept you on your toes. Furthermore, tyre wear, fuel consumption, and other elements play a big part. Subsequently, you can’t attack forever, and you must choose wisely. This made it a fascinating game of cat and mouse, even when things went wrong.
Improvements, improvements, improvements.
Picking the best team with an elite driver is all well and good. But how about starting from the bottom and working your way up? Well, this is a real possibility for those invested in the long game. With an amazing scouting network, regulation changes, building upgrades, and driver skill points, you are constantly evolving. Therefore, starting as an underdog and being successful is obtainable.
To do this is much harder, but F1 Manager 2022 gives you the tools to be successful. The key elements here were the building improvements. Upgrading your HQ is essential, as it increases morale, your monthly income, and XP. Furthermore, it speeds up research, and that is never a bad thing.
Alongside this, the scouting system and driver skill points ensure you keep up with the best in the field. This was particularly interesting as your backroom staff would advise you where improvements could be made, and if rookies were worth hiring.
Finally, the regulation changes are key to the long game. Balancing the playing field for money, development, and car parts is essential. Consequently, this mechanic plays a massive part in the lesser teams.
F1 Manager 2022 is visually subpar.
To use the phrase, subpar, is potentially a little harsh. However, much of the in-race cinematic looks dated and is poorly executed. What’s more, the animation isn’t great and isn’t what you’d expect in a modern title. Fortunately, though, I didn’t expect it to look fantastic, so I wasn’t disappointed. Instead, I was more concerned with the UI. Luckily, F1 Manager 2022 excels in this department. With easy-to-access tabs and plenty of submenus, it’s easy to find what you desire.
Unsurprisingly, the audio focuses heavily on the loud engines and familiar F1 noises. Consequently, the racing and associated elements sound incredible. These fast-paced events are laced with drama and energy, and it perfectly juxtaposes the slower methodical management section.
Gloriously straightforward to play.
A common misconception in this genre is it is better with a mouse and keyboard. However, F1 Manager 2022 is undeniably easy to play with a controller. Thanks to the aforementioned UI, you can navigate each section with ease. Moreover, the well-labelled submenus and responsive controls make it straightforward and enjoyable to play.
Thanks to the heavy focus on development and regulations, F1 Manager 2022 has both replay value and longevity. If you so wished, you could invest hours into multiple playthroughs that would all differ. Alongside this, there is a large and challenging achievement list to test every completionist’s resolve.
F1 Manager 2022 surprised me.
When F1 Manager 2022 hit my desk, my heart sank. Now, I love F1, but I thought this would be tedious, dull, and complicated. Thankfully, I was miles off the mark. The action brilliantly blends facts, figures, strategy, racing, and drama. You’ll adore it when you are winning, scream when you are losing, but love every minute nevertheless. It is for these reasons that I recommend you buy it here! Can you run the perfect team? Employ the best staff, improve your HQ and drivers, and hope for the best while you plan for the worst.