F1 Manager 2022 Review in Progress

Principals of the pitlane.
F1 Manager 22 Header

While the drivers are easily the most marketable superstars of the travelling Formula 1 circus, they’re really just one part of the sport with teams of hundreds supporting their high-speed endeavours. F1 Manager 2022 puts you in the shoes of the team principals leading those combined efforts, from the car development to the split-second strategic calls of a race weekend in a sports management simulation.

It’s fair to say that F1 Manager 2022 is latching onto the popularity of the very polished, somewhat over-produced Netflix series Drive To Survive that thrust team principals into the spotlight. Team Principals like Christian Horner, Otmar Szafnauer and the endlessly quotable Guenther Steiner have gone from relatively unknown cogs in the F1 machine, to globally recognised faces. More than ever before, the team principals who oversee every aspect of a Formula 1 team, are in the public eye – something I have no doubt played a part in Frontier’s decision to make F1 Manager 2022.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve been able to manage a team in a F1 game – you might be remember EA’s one-off F1 Manager from 22 years ago or the MyTeam mode now found in Codemasters’ F1 racing series – but F1 Manager 2022 is easily the most in-depth management sim we’ve seen of the sport.

Much like its genre stablemates, F1 Manager 2022 bypasses the action and puts players in control of everything behind the scenes. Manufacturing car parts, hiring staff, maintaining facilities, and of course, overseeing races, and much more are all part of the action in F1 Manager. There’s an almost overwhelming amount of depth at your fingertips.

F1 Manager 2022 Mercedes

At a high level, F1 Manager 2022 enables players to take control of all ten teams currently on the grid. This includes the big hitters like Mercedes and Red Bull, but also aspirational midfield teams and back-markers like Alpine, Aston Martin and Williams. Each team’s starting status is reflective of their real-life counterpart and features the current driver lineup, but as you play through the seasons and time passes, the roster will shift around and drivers from Formula 2 and Formula 3 can be promoted to the top tier of motorsports.

The action is split into two primary parts. There’s the races themselves where you have fairly minimal control but can make some decisions for your racers, and there’s the menu-focused management of everything else related to your team. Both are underpinned by an algorithm that controls everything in races.

Your effectiveness as a manager will affect your ranking within this algorithm, which calculates your strength against other teams on the grid. This does have its downsides, as the racing in action can look a little awkward at times. There is no dynamism to the car physics, so the racing can look a little robotic as the cars take corners, or they may suddenly stop directly behind a car rather than overtaking.

During a race weekend, you can manage your racer through every session. Practice and qualifying can be simulated, but there’s no option to do this for the race. This feels like an oversight, as each is a full length affair, and even with the ability to fast forward, you’re still locked in for at least thirty to forty minutes. Just as bad is the fact that, unlike F1 2022, there’s no mid-session saving, which again feels like somewhat of an oversight. Especially if you’d like to take all the action in real time.

F1 Manager 2022 Pit Strategy

Before each race, you’re tasked with choosing the strategy for each driver. There’s quite a lot of depth to go into with them, as the game offers a number of common strategies and allows you to create custom plans. Figuring out which strategies work best for each driver, depending on driver experience, is a lot of fun. It also gave me a far better understanding of how the strategies play into real-world races.

During the race itself, you can take a fairly hands off approach and focus on just pit strategy and reacting to race incidents. However, you can also go more granular, and instruct your drivers how to behave on track. It can be on you to decide ERS use, tire strategy and fuel usage. Push too hard for too long, and your driver will be more prone to mistakes, and potentially forced into retiring. Don’t push them at all, and they’re just not going to push through the field. It’s really all about finding the balance, and learning how much you can push each car.

F1 Manager 2022 Spa Race Simulation

Off the track, you’re responsible for overseeing all the key aspects of your team. One of the most comprehensive elements by far is manufacturing and engineering. F1 is a sport that constantly looks forward, so teams are always building new parts to improve through the current season, while also preparing for seasons ahead. In F1 Manager 2022, you take direct control of car development, working on the individual elements of the car.

Throughout a season, you’ll be given updates on areas where your car is underperforming. It might be that your cornering speed is slow, or your car’s ability to brake at speed leaves a lot to be desired. Each of these elements is measured against your competitors, letting you know where you place in the grid. Using this information, you can research and develop new parts to give your team the edge or claw back a shortfall. It certainly makes the daunting task of understanding how the cars work much easier to digest.

You’ll also manage the drivers themselves, supporting them by investing in new training facilities and upgrading their abilities and skills. There don’t seem to be any performance drops for the older drivers in the game, which has always played a pretty big role in the sport. It makes sense for a driver’s abilities to reduce with age, but from the time we’ve been been able to spend with the game so far, there doesn’t seem to be any system surrounding this in game. I do wonder how this might play into the teams moving drivers around and moving younger drivers from F1 and F2 up, and will be finding out as I get deeper into my multi-season career.

I’m still discovering all the mechanics and systems at play in F1 Manager 2022, and while it may not have captured all the exciting and dynamic elements of Formula 1, it’s an enjoyable experience in its own right. It provides fans like myself with a deeper glimpse into the real nuts and bolts of the sport, while giving die hard fans almost limitless access to running their own F1 team. The only thing I would really have liked to see is the ability to create your own team from scratch.

This is a review in progress. Keep an eye out for our finalised scored review of F1 Manager 2022 in the coming days and weeks.