ASTON Martin is a disaster as I take charge of the Formula 1 team at the start of the season in F1 Manager 2022, a new game from Cambridge-based Frontier Developments.
Our car may be dressed in beautiful British racing green, but in terms of speed it’s a tractor.
At the opening Grand Prix in Bahrain, we beat the even worse Williams, but we couldn’t keep up with the rest of the field. We have a lot of work ahead of us.
At the Silverstone headquarters I see some hope: our budget is quite competitive and our facilities are a good basis for the future.
Since we have a lot of catching up to do, I immediately order some upgrades for our design center and wind tunnel.
I’m also firing our chief designer, whose skills aren’t highly rated, after I’ve been looking for a suitable replacement.
I put him to work and ordered a new chassis and underbody construction.
If you decide to play as Aston or Williams, you will need a lot of patience. Points or wins are very far away indeed.
The races are about gaining experience. One way to maximize this is to play the Free Practice mini-game, a mode designed to find good vehicle set-up for your drivers.
This can earn drivers some temporary bonus attribute points for qualifying and the Grand Prix, as well as additional experience points.
Eventually, gaining enough experience points earns a development point. You can invest this in permanent improvements for your drivers.
In this case, our analysts mainly complain about our braking deficits, so I invest the deserved development point of Lance Stroll in his braking ability.
It only gets really exciting for a backmarker team when extraordinary things happen – for example rain.
During the Australian Grand Prix, the drops are falling at the perfect time for us and a pit stop for better tires gives us some position gains.
I finally lose this lead again by stopping a lap too early on dry tires. Lesson learned.
Back at HQ, our part designs are complete, so I give the go-ahead for manufacturing. It will at least be a step in the right direction.
I’m trying to renew our drivers’ contracts, but both Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll are making outrageous demands for bonus payments.
Guys, you’re already getting huge salaries, you don’t need a bonus to finish 19th.
On the other hand, I’m not paid enough to take care of it. Time for me to move to greener pastures at Alfa Romeo – which is of course a bit ironic given the team colours.
Compared to Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo has built a rocket. Finally we can race, Toto!
This is where F1 Manager 2022 really shines.
In a race, while you, the player, don’t drive the car, you do have control over the resources your drivers have access to: you tell them when to push their tires, use a higher engine mode, or boost their speed with energy the Battery.
You have team orders available, or you can tell one of your drivers to hold off the rest of the field while your other driver extends his lead.
And of course you have full control over your pit stop strategy.
At Aston Martin, these things made no difference at all.
At Alfa Romeo, however, I frantically switch views between my two drivers, babysitting their tire temperatures, fuel differentials, and battery charges.
Whilst I’ve been accelerating most races with Aston to get things over with, I’m now taking a break to study and compare lap times and see how other cars’ tires are holding up.
I implement an undercut strategy with Valtteri Bottas that allows us to snatch 4th place from Sergio Perez in a breathtaking fight to the finish line.
My rookie Zhou Guanyu stormed up the field in 6th place, but had to hand it over to Lewis Hamilton after intense fighting over several laps.
A competitive car means more fun in the race – who could have known?
It also means we can finally meet our sponsors’ performance targets and enjoy some bonus payouts.
Although Alfa Romeo doesn’t have Aston Martin’s budget, this will help balance it out and allow us to make investments for the future. A game changer.
There are more detailed management games than F1 Manager 2022, but with its good accessibility and presentation – you hear real radio messages from the drivers and race engineers – the game manages to be something that Formula 1 fans of all backgrounds can enjoy.
While experienced sim players may lack depth in the long run, everyone else will have a great day driving and surviving.
Written by Marco Wutz on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9301080/f1-manager-2022-review/ F1 Manager 2022 review – YOU sit in the driver’s seat