F1 24 preview: Live life in the fast lane

F1 24 preview: Live life in the fast lane
Images via EA

Written by 

Joshua Boyles


22nd May 2024 16:00

It’s that time of year again, and Codemasters is back to deliver yet another entry in the F1 series of racing games. On the menu this time around is an overhauled version of the Career mode, letting you put yourself in the shoes of actual drivers, which is a first for the series.

I’ve spent a few hours with the Driver Career mode ahead of the game’s launch later this month, and so far, it’s shaping up to be a far more engaging affair than previous year’s offerings.

Choose your character

Ayrton Senna in F1 24 as an Icon Driver
Click to enlarge

I’m sure most motorsport fans have had those daydreams where they wish they were an F1 icon for the day - chaining together corners, hammering down the straights and careering past rival opponents. The Career mode in the F1 games has offered glimpses at that fantasy before, but F1 24 looks to put you in the racing suit of an actual driver.

Starting up a new game, you can choose to take control of any of the 20 drivers currently on the F1 grid for 2024. Using their simulated driver and car manufacturer stats, you’ll then embark on the task of completing the season as best you can, taking part in practice sessions, qualifying, and those all-important races to increase your Driver Rating.

Of course, each driver has their own challenges to overcome. Take control of Max Verstappen, and your main goal will be to keep the rest of the pack at bay while you bring home win after win. Choose someone further down the grid, like Alex Albon, and you’ll have a much bigger challenge on your hands, with swaps to rival teams not out of the question in subsequent seasons.

Grassroots racing

Jamie Chadwick in F1 24
Click to enlarge

Personally, I chose to go the more challenging route in my preview playthrough. On top of the 20 drivers from the grid, there’s also a collection of budding F2 drivers to pick from, as well as a handful of Icon drivers. The likes of Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher reside here, as well as names like Mark Webber, Felipe Massa, and James Hunt.

I picked Jamie Chadwick, W series champion and legendary IndyCar driver who’s never had the privilege of racing in an F1 seat before. Her Driver Rating was one of the lowest on the list, but that sense of challenge only excited me, with the thought of starting out from the bottom pushing me to succeed.

Chadwick didn’t start completely from the bottom in my career, though. I paired her with Piastri on the McLaren team, perhaps optimistically swapping out Norris to place Chadwick as the proposed lead driver in the setup.

My first few races were remarkably easy, with Chadwick going straight through to pole position in two qualifying sessions and an easy win at Bahrain. For Jeddah, tweaking the AI difficulty worked a treat, with Verstappen sailing right past me in turn one and finally giving in to a fair and engaging battle.

Practice makes perfect

Specialists in F1 24
Click to enlarge

Codemasters has added a new layer to the Career mode this year with consultant specialists setting you challenges relating to specific areas of the car’s development. These characters come and go between each race weekend, and you can choose between two challenges depending on what might better suit your playstyle.

For example, one challenge from my Quality Assurance Tester tasked me with spending at least 45 seconds during the race weekend in 4th gear. Completing the challenge improved my relationship with the person, providing a percentage boost to the development of future car parts.

In previous F1 games, I’ve always seen the practice sessions as entirely skippable - I usually end up simulating them to get straight to qualifying and race day. However, with the addition of specialist challenges, I found myself actively looking to spend more time in the car, getting to know each track’s intricacies and how I could push my car around it just that little bit quicker.

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Final Thoughts

The inclusions that Codemasters has made this year might sound a little meagre on paper. After all, this is mostly an iteration of the already fantastic MyTeam career mode that has already existed for years - and still exists if you don’t fancy embodying an actual driver. 

However, when paired with the improved driving physics, which are noticeably more accurate and satisfying to grapple with on the track, my experience of F1 24 so far feels a little greater than the sum of its parts.

Previewed on PC. Preview code provided by the publisher.

Joshua Boyles
About the author
Joshua Boyles
Joshua is the Guides Editor at GGRecon. After graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Broadcast Journalism, he previously wrote for publications such as FragHero and GameByte. You can often find him diving deep into fantasy RPGs such as Skyrim and The Witcher, or tearing it up in Call of Duty and Battlefield. He's also often spotted hiking in the wilderness, usually blasting Arctic Monkeys.
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