PREVIEW: F1 Manager 2022 is every Formula 1 fan's dream simulation game
Armchair F1 bosses and budding tacticians rejoice - F1 Manager 2022 is set to be the ultimate chance to take control of your favourite team and call the shots. Frontier Developments let us have a preview of their impressive new game, which is due for release on major platforms in summer 2022.
Take the reins of your favourite team
F1 Manager 2022 gives you the chance to handle the day-to-day running of any of the 10 teams on the grid for multiple seasons with official circuits, staff, drivers and rules all included. Our preview, held by Frontier’s game director Andy Fletcher and executive producer Adam Woods, showed the player becoming Team Principal for the lead-up to the 2022 Australian Grand Prix.
Players can control every aspect of their team, upgrading and refurbishing certain facilities within their team's factory, including the wind tunnel and simulator.
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One can also recruit new staff from a pool of real-life engineers and aerodynamicists, while every driver from F3, F2 and F1 is available for you to hire. Over time you’ll be able to mould the team to your liking.
But you’ll need to play within the rules of F1 itself, with budget caps and numerous other real-life regulations making it in to the simulation.
Develop the car
Your team provides you with everything you need to develop your car before and during the season. Jump into the upgrades screen and you’ll see an estimate of how your car performs relative to your rivals, and how it performs in various corners or on the straights.
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A page of staggering, but pleasingly accessible, information lets you develop a part for a specific circuit, or ready a package of parts to bring to an upcoming race. After you choose which part needs to be upgraded, you can allocate CFD and wind tunnel hours to develop it.
Then you’ll need to manufacture copies of that part for the race weekend ahead – as long as you have the time and money to do so.
Prepare for the Grand Prix
Facilities upgraded, staff hired, parts in development – now you actually need to get ready for the race weekend.
Via the in-game inbox, your team will provide you with everything you need for the weekend ahead, including information on how the parts you’ve just developed are getting on, performance targets from sponsors, and weather and track surface data.
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Free Practice – all three sessions – can be managed or simulated. They’re all about building driver confidence and tweaking set-up.
In qualifying, it’s up to you to send the driver out for a clean lap while they bring the car home as high as possible.
After you’ve set up the car, it’s time to choose the tyre strategy for the race. F1 Manager 2022 allows the player to pick exactly when their driver is going to stop for tyres, and of course pick which tyres they’ll switch to – with the ability to save multiple strategies and tailor them to specific scenarios.
Of course, you can change strategies on the fly in order to react to Safety Cars, weather, or collisions.
Tyre wear is simulated to a striking degree, with track temperature, rubber, kerbs, dirty air, and a number of other elements shaping how the Pirelli compounds perform.
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On race day, all the action is available to watch in a realistic 3D recreation – but you can just watch the highlights if you’d prefer. A top-down 2.5D view is also available if you want to speed things up.
Commentary is provided by David Croft and Karun Chandhok, both of whom call out big moments including the start and crashes, while their voices are bolstered by broadcast-quality graphics. Although, in this case, the TV graphics can be altered to show exactly what you want them to – such as tyre data, stint length and lap times – whenever you want.
During the race, you can also instruct your drivers to drive more aggressively or less aggressively, with instructions to lift and coast or avoid kerbs at your disposal. ERS settings can also be overridden to help your driver pass or defend. And team orders can be utilised, if you want your drivers to play nice…
In the end, all that matters is the result, and how happy the board are. You'll have to balance the books and hit targets to keep them on side.
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F1 Manager 2022 gives you every tool to take control of your favourite Formula 1 team and manage every facet of it, with official drivers and team members comprising what seems to be the most in-depth, yet accessible, F1 management simulation ever made.
Frontier Developments' game is set to release on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation® 4, Xbox One, Steam, and Epic Games Store, in Summer 2022.