F1 Manager 22 is the perfect game for all types of Formula 1 obsessives

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Frontier Developments’ newest looks and feels like the real thing, with authentic racing sounds and realistic imagery, in a manner that few other management simulators do.

EA Sports released F1 Manager in October 2000, a racing simulator in which users assumed control of a genuine Formula One team. It eventually gets a sequel 22 years later. And it’s amazing.

The exceptional Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive has resulted in a significant increase in F1 interest, particularly in the United States. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the nation, and another new game is seeking to profit on the craze. F1 Manager 22, the new simulator from Frontier Developments (best known for the Planet Coaster and Planet Zoo series), brings the complex, detail-rich world of Formula 1 to life with tons of data, beautiful presentation, and a user-friendly interface that welcomes players with varying levels of experience and familiarity.

In F1 Manager 22, gamers may take control of any of the ten F1 teams. As team principal, you are in charge of the team’s race strategy and preparation, as well as improving staff (via development or new recruits), upgrading the team’s vehicle and facilities, negotiating sponsorship agreements, and much more. Because this is a management sim, you won’t be performing any driving yourself, but you will have a lot of influence over the driver’s in-race performance by determining their strategy, providing them with the proper vehicle setup, and even micromanaging their tire, fuel, and energy consumption.

The F1 Manager 22 home screen, featuring Mercedes as the player-controlled team.

Between the original F1 Manager and the current edition, fans of racing management simulations had to make do with Motorsport Manager. Motorsport Manager, which began as a mobile game, did not hold the rights to real-life F1 drivers, teams, or circuits, instead residing in a fictitious version of the F1 World. The game soon got a PC version, and it has an active modding community that routinely adds real-life F1 drivers and teams (but not racing courses) to the game. Despite their best efforts, there was always a disconnect between what the game had to offer and the amount of immersion that fans craved.

That is one of the many areas where F1 Manager 22 excels. The game features real-life engineers and team members, in addition to gaining the rights to the names and likenesses of the teams and drivers. Their introduction is a bonus in and of itself, particularly in the connection you create while gradually boosting their numbers. The drivers may take the spotlight, but F1 is really a team sport. The game’s use of music strengthens that connection even further.

Any racing game has the delightful hum of a race vehicle, but F1 Manager 22 adds another layer of realism: genuine team radio communications between drivers and engineers. You will hear your (real) team’s (real) engineer providing the command and the (real) driver’s (real) voice reacting whenever you give your driver an instruction (such as “lift off the pedal some more” or “push for a position here”). It’s one of many such touches that combine to completely immerse you in what is essentially a role-playing fantasy. (If the chatter bothers you, you may simply adjust your audio settings.)

The game doesn’t simply sound like the real thing; it also looks better than any other sports management model to date. With a significant focus on metrics and statistics, most sports management sim games resemble, well, spreadsheets. However, the racing sequences in F1 Manager 22 are substantially identical to those in EA Sports’ F1 22 racing game. The vehicles and courses come to life with incredible visual clarity, making the races enjoyable to watch as you plot your course to victory.

The inclusion of genuine tracks contributes significantly to the visual immersion. The game includes all of the peculiarities and views of some of the world’s most renowned racing circuits, from the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco to the rolling hills of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

For beginner players, data-heavy management simulations may be intimidating, and one of the most admirable aspects of F1 Manager 22 is how adaptable the experience is. The game contains all of the nitty gritty elements that F1 fans will want to go into, but practically everything in the game offers some level of automation for those who simply want to dabble. Just want to plan your tire strategy? You are capable of doing so. Do you want to control every sector of every lap? You can do it as well.

Perhaps F1 Manager 22’s most notable accomplishment is how accessible it is to so many people, from management veterans to F1 fanatics to the swathes of new followers the sport has attracted in recent years. For beginner gamers, the management sim genre may be daunting, and F1 Manager 22 addresses this right away. The first team selection screen lists the strengths, limitations, and aims of each of the various teams you might play with. When you hover your mouse over a team, a voice-over from F1 commentator David Croft informs you more about the squad’s current position and how it got there. When you start your first game, the game will educate you as much about its unique systems as it will on the general laws of F1 racing.

It’s been a long time since F1 fans had a licensed management sim that could compete with the real thing’s spectacular highs. The current surge in interest has created the ideal environment for a comeback to this sort of F1 game. Even more astounding than the timing is the execution, which leaves little to be desired. It took more than two decades, but the wait was well worth it.

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