Let’s make one thing clear: If you’re looking for a high-speed simulation racer that keeps you toe-to-toe with Max Verstappen, F1 Manager 2022 is not for you. Marking the first entry in a new F1 Manager series, Frontier Developments takes a different approach from the Codemasters F1 22, swapping the driver’s seat for the pit wall. Similar to Soccer Manager, racing management games on PlayStation are rare — motorsport manager Never jumped – but Frontier filled the space nicely.
The F1 Manager consists of all ten current F1 teams and twenty drivers, each with different budgets and two objectives across the board. As team principal, our immediate goal is with regards to the Constructors’ Championship, but also long-term goals like regular podium finishes. Expectations align with real-world performance, so anyone missing out on top results for Red Bull won’t last, while Williams is just happy scoring points. Like in FIFA picking your local side, picking a smaller team and working your way up the ladder seems more rewarding. Unfortunately, you can’t build your own team, so we chose Aston Martin, whose high aim was to finish eighth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Management isn’t finicky in Frontier’s sims; Big decisions are your real concern. With Car Performance, engineers can improve your existing car or focus on research projects for next season. Anyone opting for less competitive teams may find research more beneficial as it can yield significant long-term benefits. Facilities are also upgradeable for a hefty cost, providing benefits such as better team morale in exchange for increased costs. There’s a lot to consider and F1 Manager 2022 gives you thanks to its alternative guidance system.
After finishing his daily business, race weekend will soon arrive. With those board expectations, each team has set performance goals from sponsors, and meeting them pays well. Optional goals can be included, from recording the fastest lap to hitting Q2 in qualifying, but there is a small fee if you fail to hit any of the goals you choose. Still, the potential payoff is quite high, so for anyone feeling confident, it’s a risk or reward position. Once everything is reviewed, it’s time to hit the track.
Like a real Grand Prix, there are three practice sessions that let you fine-tune the car setup and introduce the two drivers to the circuit. Key drivers can be turned into first practice for your reserve driver, earning them experience. This is a great place to test out your setup, allowing drivers to familiarize themselves with the circuit and the car alike. The more confident a driver feels with the car, the faster he will drive. Qualifying uses a three-stage knock-out format, with the five slowest drivers being eliminated until we reach the top ten. As an aside, sprint races are not included. If you’re not worried about having to manage every detail during practice or qualifying, however, the team can handle it automatically, but you can’t skip the main event.
Come race day, choose a pit stop strategy, check the weather forecast, wait for the lights, and you’re off. Once the race starts, you have no direct control over the drivers; Your role is better summarized as they are understood through commands. As team principal, you can issue speed commands that affect fuel consumption, dictate how aggressively they drive – which affects tire wear – as well as for DRS. Maintains battery life. If you wish, you can issue team orders such as refraining from fighting with teammates or asking one of the drivers to stop behind any car. Every decision matters to gain that competitive advantage, and because you can stop the race, there’s no need to rush.
F1 Manager 2022 is a game of patience – especially when selecting a lower level team – but pulling off successful strategies and getting those key points is incredibly satisfying. We lost count of how many times we finished a race, only to find ourselves going “one more round” before suddenly realizing it was 3 o’clock. Even small things like that last lap overtake prove to be stressful and you take pride in your efforts. The controls are well adapted to the console as well, with the breadth of the options feeling a bit clunky but easy to learn. Accessibility options like alternate UI colors for the color blind are also a welcome addition.
It’s not just figures and graphs: everything is controlled through an impressive 3D engine that conveys the action well. Sure, these visuals don’t quite match those of F1 22 – some character models gravitate toward the supernatural canyon along with the odd graphical pop-in – but F1 Manager 2022 captures the feeling of watching the live race spectacularly Is. Not only did the actual drivers provide the voice lines for the radio messages, but replays of the incident seem to have been pulled from a Sky Sports highlight reel. If you fast forward the race, it will switch to map view, returning whenever action is needed.
Our biggest problem is that on-track events don’t always look real. On several occasions, drivers barely known widely received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from commentator David Croft. However, to his credit, it is completely on-brand. More critically, we saw significant accidents on several occasions that saw a driver drive straight into a wall, only for them to keep going. These aren’t big complaints – F1 Manager 2022 does a great job of keeping you immersed – but little things like this can make it go away.
Once a race is completed, drivers earn experience that eventually rewards development points, which are used to improve skills such as braking or defending. If one is consistently performing poorly, you can seek replacements and negotiate contracts. So, by 2023, we have replaced Lance Stroll with Valtteri Bottas. We recommend not to be a stingy boss; In every failed negotiation they see you losing patience with you, eventually shutting you down. At the end of the season, you’ll be ranked against prior goals across the board, eliminating any outside business, and before you know it, we’re doing it again. Maybe Aston Martin will take 6th place this time? Our goal is high, make no mistake. Future seasons are mostly the same, only this time you can negotiate sponsorship deals and engine suppliers.
F1 Manager 2022 is a strong first entry in Frontier’s new series, filling a niche that has been lacking on PlayStation for years. To capture the spirit of Formula 1 with its strong attention to detail, there are some thrilling races to be had and we are impressed with how well it handles race days with its 3D engine. As a management sim, it’s a slow burner and we wish you could build your own team, but it still holds its own distinct charm. If you have the patience for the long haul, F1 fans won’t want to miss it.