Given F1’s rise in popularity in recent years, Frontier Developments decision to take on the project (releases in 2023 and 2024 are expected) comes as no surprise.

F1 fans will now have the opportunity to sign their favourite driver(s) to Red Bull, take Haas from the back of the grid to the front, or develop a promising young driver such as Isack Hadjar in F3 to help him become the next Max Verstappen. With the game being officially licensed, all the official F1 teams, drivers, personnel and junior drivers from F2 and F3 are included.

Speaking exclusively to Crash.net earlier this year, game director Andrew Fletcher explained why F1 Manager 2022 is a must-buy for any fan or newcomer to the sport.

“I think the first thing will be the authenticity,” Fletcher said. “You get to the team selection screen, you’ve got all the drivers there, all the teams, you can see the depth that’s been replicated so I think they’ll get a kick out of it by looking around the game in some way. 

“I think one thing that surprised a lot of people when we showed the game off recently in a behind closed doors event was that they were surprised by the level of management in the race side of things. 

“In the races, people knew that there would be a lot of things to do in the team management, the micro-management, the ERS battery management, the fuel, fuel load and management and the tyre management, setting up the strategy, all that stuff, people when they got their hands on with it they were like there’s a lot to do during the race, you don’t want to fast forward it, you want to be in the race and in the moment. I think players will get a kick out of that. Overall, the comprehensiveness of it and that excitement of race day for sure.”

Authenticity and immersive have been key pillars that Frontier have focused on for their inaugural release. F1 Manager 2022 will have real-life team radio messages, making the most of F1’s extensive archive of soundbites.

On top of that, Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft and pundit Karun Chandhok feature throughout the game, adding another layer to the title’s realism element. 

“We’ve got authentic team radio samples that we’ve put into the game so on the other half of the management game when you’re on the pit wall, managing the race, you’ve got that authenticity coming through as well on top of all the normal things as well, the driver licences, the liveries and all of the stuff you’d expect. We’ve taken it to another level of depth,” he added.

On top of the realistic audio, Frontier have done a remarkable job with how the races are presented to the player. Its heavily-detailed, stunning race presentation screen makes watching the races particularly appealing as opposed to seeing your driver be a dot race around a 2D race track.

Fletcher revealed that Frontier wanted to ensure the game captured the “excitement and spectacle” of a grand prix Sunday.

“At the end of the day, the points are won on the race day so you want to make something of that,” he said. “I think there are so many micro-managed elements of a race and strategy is a key thing. It would be a waste to downplay that and go for a long term management… Like I say, the reaction so far has spoken volumes about how well that has happened. In a funny way, it’s more about eeking out tenths of a second from lap time. 

“It really is those small decisions and when you make them and under what conditions that make the difference so we had to spotlight that and do it with this broadcast style which Frontier has got a fantastic art system and team of animators, so we’ve got to put them to work.”

Capturing F1’s chaos

F1 is a complex, data-driven sport with tons of nuances to it. Whether that’s car setup, strategies, the rules or technical regulations, there’s a lot for fans to get their head around.

To ensure Frontier captured all these elements associated with the sport, Fletcher revealed that they had support from Alpine and visited the factory to enhance a number of the game’s features.

“We’ve been in touch with Alpine,” Fletcher said. “We went to their factory, we did the pit stops with their pit crew to get them all mo-capped for realistic representation of that and also garage interactions as well. 

“It was really useful to talk to them about the day-to-day-running of the team.”

The nature of F1 makes it challenging for newcomers to properly understand the sport and its rules.

Frontier has put a thorough tutorial in place to ensure all fans, regardless of how much they know about F1, understand enough about the game to ensure it’s a playable and enjoyable experience.

“We have a tutorial in the game so you can enable it or disable it,” he explained. “You go in, you’ll play the tutorial. I think that does a really nice job balancing out, showing you around the UI and basically how you play the game, even for those who know their F1 and also just explaining some of those basics. 

“We will talk to you about the types of tyres, why we need the strategy, why the fuel is important, and I think a lot of the depth is there to discover but we’ve put the tutorial in at a level of this you need to play the game. We’ve tried to make it as simple as possible for people coming into it as fresh.”

Why no multiplayer?

One downside to F1 Manager 22 is the lack of multiplayer or ability to start a save with a friend. A game’s life cycle relies on social play but given its the first F1 management title from Frontier, it’s understandable why they’ve not tried to do everything in their first year.

It’s a similar story with creating your own team - perhaps something we will see in 2023 or 2024, adding an 11th team to the grid, like with MyTeam in F1 22 by EA Sports.

“For now, we’re focusing on the core F1 Manager 22 career mode and making that as authentic and appealing as possible in this first iteration,” he explained. “We will see what the future brings on that side of things. Nothing to comment on that right now.”

Pressed on the lack of multiplayer at present, Fletcher stands by the decision not to add it for 2022.

“We have tried to make sure we’re focusing on getting this core experience as good as it can be in 2022,” he concluded. “Different players will want different things when playing it. Referring to the event that I mentioned earlier, getting people in the same room to play it, there was a lot of story-sharing just in that local environment. 

“I think we’ve got a good history at Frontier of building communities even in games that are extensively single-player, Planet games, Jurassic games, so I think that will be one of those games as well. In terms of expanding that, we will see what the future brings.”

F1 Manager 2022 is available to pre-order now. It is set to be released digitally on August 25 for PC, PlayStation 4 & 5 and Xbox One / Series X|S.