F1 Manager 2023

F1 Manager 2023

It’s a second season in charge, but has Frontier nailed the formula?

It’s a second season in charge, but has Frontier nailed the formula?

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03/08/2023 toolmxh.com

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Review game F1 Manager 2023, It’s a second season in charge, but has Frontier nailed the formula?

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Last year, the first game in the F1 Manager series came out. It had a lot of potential, but it was very rough around the edges. It looked great for a management game, where the closest comparison is Football Manager with its PS1-era match engine graphics (but not for much longer! ), but janky animations like crashes that always happened in the same place on each track took away from the immersion. In our F1 Manager 2023 review, we talk about how, at first glance, this looks like the same game, but there’s a lot going on behind the T-cam.

Release date July 31, 2023
Expect to pay $55/£45
Developer Frontier Developments
Publisher Frontier Developments
Reviewed on RTX 2070, Intel Core i7-10870H, 16GB RAM

Without going into too much detail, the first part’s first few months were rough because of bugs and gameplay balance problems. For example, wet and intermediate tyres could last for 150+ laps, and tyre wear didn’t make much of a difference in speed. These were slowly fixed, but not before the developers said they were dropping support for the game to focus on 2023. They later changed their minds after getting a lot of negative feedback. I haven’t spent a lot of time with F1 Manager 2023—at the time I’m writing this, I’ve only played up to Canada, which is 10 races, and about 15 hours, some of which was spent in the other new modes. But as far as I can tell, none of these problems are happening this time.

Not launching with problems like that is like not stopping on the grid when the lights go out, but it’s important to stress that players who stopped playing the last game because of problems like these shouldn’t find a reason to stop playing this time. People also said that last year’s title was easy to cheat at, which meant that any team on the grid could have been the best by the end of the first season if they had invested in the right car parts from the start. With the new features that give the game more depth, this shouldn’t be possible anymore, or if it is, it’s not as easy.

For one thing, reaching the cost limit seems easier this year. It seems that way because, after 10 races, I haven’t come close to winning, but I’ve already spent almost half of it ($60 million or so, with $80 million left). Last year, it was almost impossible to reach the cost cap and avoid the fines that come with going over it. When designing cars now, you also have to think about how heavy the parts are because a heavy car isn’t fast.

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There are three types of driver attributes: Speed, Consistency, and Racecraft. There are three attributes in each category, and you can assign different development focuses to help a driver focus on which part of their racing to improve. Since I’m in charge of McLaren (and have had a hard time matching their great real-life performance in the last few races), I’m in charge of developing Lando Norris. His Control, Smoothness, and Cornering are all above 90, but his Adaptability and Accuracy are both below 80. So, I have him work on his short-run speed, which improves both of these skills as well as his ability to turn and stop. Oscar Piastri, on the other hand, is not quite as good as Lando. Only two of his skills are above 80. I left his development on “balanced,” which pays equal attention to all nine of his attributes.

Your five staff members—the technical chief, the head of aerodynamics, the sporting director, and the two race engineers—also have development goals, but their skills are different from those of the drivers. After all, Peter Bonnington doesn’t need to be good at turning corners. Also, drivers get better less quickly as they get older, so you probably won’t be able to make Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton much better than they already are.

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When it comes to staff, you must also set a schedule for your pit crew every month. Choose from options like pit stop errors, building cars, and reducing fatigue to keep your well-trained team in top shape. This is important to think about because pit stops can make or break races. You can change each day of the month with a different schedule, similar to how training works in Football Manager. However, this is likely to be the most boring part, so there isn’t much point in trying to min-max it. Choose the preset you want, and you’re ready to go.

One feature that has been asked for a lot is the ability to manage a team in the F2 or F3 feeder series. This is still not possible, just like Football Manager still doesn’t let you manage the under-21s, but the F2 and F3 feeder series are now fully simulated. This means you can keep up with what happens after each race and keep track of who is doing well, not just how the drivers you scout are doing. Just don’t be shocked if Theo Pourchaire wins the F2 championship by a long shot.

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On the track, drivers also have to deal with two new things: confidence and strategy. Driver confidence is something that changes on its own. If your driver successfully passes another car or defends well, their confidence will go up, and if they lose a position or get into an accident, it will go down. Drivers with more confidence do better and make fewer mistakes. Drivers with less confidence do the opposite, which can be a dangerous cycle. Drivers with more experience will naturally have more confidence, and drivers can boost their confidence before a race by doing well in practise and qualifying.

You have more control over your drivers’ strategies because you can tell them how aggressively to pass and defend. At first, I was a little too quick to push Piastri to overtake at every chance. His lack of experience and skill led to more accidents, which hurt his confidence and cost me a lot of emergency car parts for the next race. You can also tell your drivers not to fight their teammate, to stay away from high kerbs, or to drive in clean air, which is even more important now that the tyre temperatures are more realistic and have a bigger effect on race speed.

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In the first game, you had to manually turn ERS on and off for your driver, which wasn’t very realistic because in real life, the driver has complete control over that. You can still do this if you prefer, but you can now turn on the ERS Battle Assist button. This means that your driver will always have enough energy to battle other drivers and try to keep them out of DRS range, or vice versa, to catch up. Still, it would be better if drivers had to learn how to use ERS, and those with more experience were better at it by nature.

Sprint races are finally happening, and there’s not much to say about them. They work exactly as planned and can be a great way to make up for a bad qualifying session and score some points. For people who like to watch at 1x or 2x speed, the visor cam is like the new camera that Sky Sports added to the drivers’ helmets. However, it has a problem with draw distance and can’t show the end of a long straight.

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Last but not least, there’s the Race Replay mode, which won’t take nearly as much of your time but is still a nice addition. It lets you “rewrite” the 2023 season by giving you one challenge for each real-life race. This puts you in the shoes of a team that almost did something great but just missed it by a hair. For example, in Baku, you’ll be in charge of Aston Martin and try to get Alonso on the podium after the lap 11 safety car. At Silverstone, you’ll try to get both McLarens on the podium. In Jeddah, you’ll have to get Tsunoda one point with only 15 laps left and Magnussen right behind him.

All of these can be played as many times as you want, and you can also take control of any team and start the race from the first lap in the real-life grid order. On the other hand, there are exclusive scenarios that are completely made up but make the game harder, like taking on the Canadian Grand Prix with two drivers who aren’t sure of themselves or trying to get a 1-2 finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix with Red Bull right behind you.

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F1 Manager 2023 is a huge improvement over last year’s game, and you should get it whether you stick with 2022 or not. It still has problems with some jerky animations, but there are a lot more kinds of accidents, and the development of both drivers and cars is much deeper. This is the first management game that lives up to the name “F1 Manager.”

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