F1 Manager 24 Preview – Making Andretti’s dream come true

F1 Manager 24 header artwork team principals

Will there ever be an 11th team of the Formula 1 grid again? Andretti is trying their damnedest to make it a reality, but in the meantime, video games are here to let us all live the fantasy of having and managing our own custom team.

Launching on 23rd July, F1 Manager 24 will bring a new Create A Team option to the career, letting you found a brand new team to join the grid, set liveries, team suit colours, and create a new logo using some solid and pretty comprehensive layering tools. Alongside that, there’s also a background and origin for your team to choose from, giving scenarios that dictate some of the initial financing and the story that you’re telling.

Compared to just hopping into one of the real world teams, you’ve got a few more things to look after through each season, namely sponsors. As you’d expect, these give you a healthy injection of funding, with more on the table if you can hit your goals and targets.

F1 Manager 24 create a team

A lot of the UI and general interface will feel instantly familiar to those who played the first two games – as with so many sports game series, there is an evolutionary approach to F1 Manager 24. However, Frontier has made some clear changes to improve and clarify the experience, which is always important for a game that’s going to be stat and menu-heavy. The financial screens now have pie charts to better show the incomings and outgoings of your money. The R&D screens that show your various car attributes and how they relate to other teams now better point you toward the upgrades and areas you could work on to improve performance.

Alongside that is the new Mentality system, which shows how each driver and team member is doing, what they think about you and their general happiness. Are there some changes you can make to improve their mood and get the best from them through a race and season? Well, that’s the mark of a great manager, and you’ll have to make those kinds of decisions if you want to retain your brightest stars and talent.

F1 Manager 24 mentality system

Or you can look to stars of the future, with the new Affiliates system letting you sign young F2 and F3 drivers to your team while letting them carry on in the lower categories. Through this you can overlook their training and development, guiding their path to the top tier, and hopefully on to championships for your team!

There’s also mechanical failures that can now throw a spanner in the works for you, or any of the AI cars. As someone who lived through the tyre puncture pandemic of Codemasters’ F1 2010, I can tell you that random damage is difficult to accept when actually driving a virtual car, but makes more sense if it’s tied in with car wear, damage and more, as a way to deepen the recreation of reality.

We were put in a particularly extreme example scenario to demonstrate this, with both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez coming into the Australian GP with a lot of heavy wear on their cars. The likelihood of engine, ERS and gearbox failures was through the roof here, with management the order of the day to simply try and make it to the end.

F1 Manager 24 mechanical failures

Both cars saw the ERS die, initially with reduced output and eventually with a total system failure. One of the pair then had engine failure reducing power, and with Perez out of the points I figured it best just to retire his car. Of course, Max being Max and the RB20 being the RB20, he was slicing through the field even while I was telling him to seek clean air and not to stress the ERS deployment. It wasn’t quite enough to get him up on the podium, but it honestly wasn’t far off!

Some of this still felt quite work in progress, and there’s some room for improvement between now and launch this summer, or into future games in the series. Dealing with mechanical failures is a neat idea, but you don’t get many additional tools to deal with issues. Some issues won’t be critical and can resolve themselves in time, and you can advise to avoid kerbs, drive in clean air, not use ERS in battle, but that’s the same set of instructions from last year. It would great to see some more specific ways to crisis manage, tell your team to work on a solution, shuffling engine mode and engage mitigations, just as we hear teams doing in real life. I’d even be up for a cheesy Pipe Mania minigame, to be honest!

F1 Manager is steadily growing into the role of capturing all the ins and outs of the motorsports soap opera that is Formula 1. OK, it probably won’t ever capture all the drama and snippy infighting that goes on (and that’s before Netflix comes along to cook up its own narratives), but F1 Manager 24 is bringing a good set of new features, requested changes, and general improvements to the table.

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