F1 Manager 22 is the newly released, fully licensed Formula 1 management game from Frontier Developments.
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We take a closer look at F1 Manager 22 in this review.
What is F1 Manager 22?
Frontier Development’s latest release, F1 Manager 22, allows you to take control of any current F1 team and leave your mark on the racing world as Team Principal. If you dream of Williams’ glory days or Ferrari putting a decent strategy in place for once, then dream no longer!
The fully licensed F1 Manager 22 allows total control over an F1 team’s inner workings. You can develop the cars, scout and hire new staff and drivers, build new facilities, vote on policy changes, and research for the next season. If you want to go even deeper, you can manage every practice, qualifying session, and full race yourself.
F1 Manager 22 – Gameplay
As the name would imply, F1 Manager 22 is a management game. If you have played any of the previous Football Manager games or 2016’s Motorsport Manager, the plethora of data available in F1 Manager 22 should not be too overwhelming.
The sheer amount of data could be a little intimidating for new players to this type of game. With F1 Manager 22’s fairly comprehensive tutorial enabled, you should not have too much of an issue understanding the essential features.
In general, the more time you put into F1 Manager 22, the more rewarding you will find the game. Tweaking your driver’s set-up throughout practice and finally hitting that 100% confidence mark feels incredibly satisfying.
Much like in real life, though, all of your efforts can be in vain. Your car is ready, your driver is confident, it’s lights out, and away we go! As your closest rival locks up and wipes out your car into turn 1…
However, unlike in real life, we have not seen any random engine or mechanical failures in our time spent with F1 Manager 22 so far. It seems that these only occur during crashes. This can take away from the brilliant drama we see in actual Formula 1 races. Think Leclerc retiring from the lead of the race in Baku this season.
Furthermore, there are a few elements missing from F1 Manager 22 that we would have liked to see. There is no formation lap at the start of races. It is a minor thing but it does take away a little piece of the experience.
There is no driver academy system in F1 Manager 22. Your team has three driver slots, with one being a reserve. Taking on a young driver as your reserve and giving them plenty of practice time is one way to boost their rating. We would have liked to see an academy system though where these young drivers can still compete under your team’s banner and hone their craft.
We also would have liked press conferences to make an appearance in F1 Manager 22. These can add a level of realism and allow players to deepen the storylines they are creating at every race weekend. Some of the best drama in F1 comes from Team Principals in interviews after all.
Drawing another comparison to the sports management behemoth that is Football Manager, we would have liked to have the ability to mask driver and staff attributes. Having the knowledge of every staff member and driver’s ability from the get-go almost makes the scouting department feel irrelevant.
The final issue we have with the gameplay is the AI. Sometimes when drivers run wide or crash their car seems to turn into a toy and bounce around off the track or suddenly snap to face a different direction. Drivers can also run inches wide off the track and the game will highlight this as a replay.
Drivers on out laps seem to lack the ability to move aside at times as well. We understand traffic is a real issue in F1. However, it can feel like the AI drivers are intentionally swerving in front of you because they are not programmed well enough to move aside.
F1 Manager 22 – Graphics, UI & Sound
For a management game, F1 Manager 22 is undeniably stunning. Not just visually but in terms of sound design as well. Having full licensing and access to drivers and pit crews for motion capture time and facial scans makes F1 Manager 22 look authentic and feel immersive.
When you first select your team, you will see the current drivers standing alongside the current generation car atop a platform. This is an awesome first look at the work that has gone into the game graphically. Then, your cars are out on track for the first time. Broadcast quality camera angles and trackside audio make this a spectacle. Want to watch the full race at 1x speed from your driver’s shoulder camera? You can do that.
There is one area where this falls, however. There do not seem to be any animations for front or rear wing changes in the game. You get damaged, call the car in and after a short wait, a new wing simply appears. This certainly takes something away from the overall pit stop experience in F1 Manager 22, which is otherwise brilliant.
Hearing the real drivers’ and engineers’ voices as they speak to one another over the radio is a fantastic touch and just adds to the authenticity.
The UI overall is very clean and well-spaced. Some pop-up information can block your view of the standings for the backmarker teams, which can be annoying. Generally, F1 Manager 22 does a brilliant job of showing you a lot of data without overloading you and we appreciate that.
For facility development, we would have liked to have seen a bit more attention to detail for each of the specific facilities. Your Team Hub view, for example, is just a slow-moving screen across a car park… For some reason? We really would have liked to have actually seen the car in the wind tunnel when we go to that section as well.
On the whole, F1 Manager 22 is a brilliant first edition in what we hope will be a long-standing series. The game looks and sounds great. It is a highly authentic experience despite a few shortcomings.
The best part of the experience is the stories you create along the way. Whether you want to take control of a backmarker and work your way to the sharp end of the grid. Or, take command at Mercedes, sack George Russell and give Goatifi his seat. You can do it in F1 Manager 22.
Sure, we will admit some issues, and some features are missing that we would have liked to have seen. For a first attempt, though, Frontier has done a cracking job!
F1 Manager 22 Guides
If you’re stuck on F1 Manager 22, then we have the guides to help you out: