F1 Manager 2023 preview - Striving for a podium finish

F1 Manager 2023 preview - Striving for a podium finish
Images via Frontier Developments

Written by 

Jake Bannister

Published 

28th Jun 2023 15:00

It’s been less than a year since we got our first taste of action from F1 Manager, and I still remember my excitement and enthusiasm. As a veteran Football Manager player and F1 fan, on paper, it was the perfect title for me.

The release of F1 Manager 2022 was rocky, but in my eyes, it was a great first step. When Frontier announced the discontinuation of support to work towards this year's title, I was actually quite happy.

That game was no finished product, but for a series that will (hopefully) be here for years to come, the studio had to start somewhere. Putting all your eggs in the basket of the future proved that.

Heading towards the next generation, GGRecon got a two-hour hands-on preview with F1 Manager 2023, including the brand-new Race Replay mode.

  • Here's what you need to know about F1 Manager 2023, including the release date, platforms, trailers, and more.

One for the rookies

F1 Manager 2023 Race Moments Monaco
Click to enlarge

Our first set of gameplay was with Race Replay - in particular, Race Moments, the brand-new game mode.

Aimed at those looking for a quicker experience, Race Replay allows you to go back in time to real race situations from the season.

Straight away, we were thrown into Lap 54 of the Monaco Grand Prix with Aston Martin. The rain had just started, and this was Alonso's time to shine.

Unfortunately for me, I was so caught up in the moment, that I completely forgot to pit. By the time I did, I was 19 seconds behind Verstappen, and ahead of Ocon behind by 10.7 seconds, ending in a quiet race.

On the surface, the mode does seem enjoyable, although I would have much preferred a different scenario with a bit more excitement behind it. For example, the recent developer livestream showed the goal of taking Piastri up the places in Australia.

It’s certainly one to keep an eye on and could be a treat for more casual fans who lack the time for a full career.

A fresh set of tyres

F1 Manager 2023 Inbox
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Next up was the classic Career Mode, this time setting up just before the British Grand Prix with Mercedes. This gave us a chance to flick through the menus to see what Frontier had been cooking.

While some tweaks have been made here and there during races, the big changes are felt mostly outside of the race weekend experience. These include driver and staff development, the addition of a Sporting Director, Pit Crew management, and the simulated F2 and F3 season.

F1 Manager 2023 F2 Simulation at British GP
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When digging into staff development, it seems like a basic but efficient way of developing attributes, and it's no different for the drivers. There are a variety of focuses, such as ‘Wheel To Wheel’, which hones in on Overtaking, Defending, Control, and Braking. When dealing with younger drivers, you can develop their weaker aspects, as opposed to older drivers who are set in their ways and less malleable.

The addition of the Pit Crew management and Sporting Director is a nice aspect to add to the depth of F1 Manager 2023. With the simulated F2 and F3, you can now prepare contracts for the upcoming season, which marks further small but fresh improvements to the title.

Hometown heroes

F1 Manager 2023 Mercedes Drivers
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While taking the reigns with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, we got to enjoy the full race weekend at Silverstone, Britain's home circuit. When playing a full set of practice sessions, you get the feeling of a much smoother gameplay experience, while maintaining the same core gameplay loop we saw last year.

After simulating qualifying and heading to race day, we got our first taste of seeing the green lights and getting underway.

At first glance, the addition of tyre temperatures was simple to manage. Seeing the Visor Cam in action is a graphical step up, but if I’m going through a race at 2x speed, it’s mainly to attack or defend. This is where using a third-person view for a better spectacle is more useful.

One aspect that felt like it was on another level is Driver Confidence. This now goes up and down depending on your entire weekend, rather than at less frequent points in the season. It's much more representative of how a driver would actually feel during the course of a race weekend, with the peaks and troughs that come with that.

F1 Manager 2023 Race Win
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In one car, Lewis Hamilton had a full three sessions and the car was tweaked to perfection, giving him a high confidence. On the other hand, my digital George Russell missed most of Practice 2 after needing to fit a new engine part, so his confidence wasn't flying quite as high.

While hard to see the difference in a race, the aspect of not giving your drivers time in Practice that could hamper your race weekend adds another layer to gameplay.

Lastly, we got to mix that with some new Driver Tactics, including a level setting for Overtake Aggression and Defend Approach - a much-needed feature to add more dynamism to nail-biting overtakes.

Following a P5 start, I actually managed to win the race with Lewis, putting to use a unique one-stop pit strategy to fend off the Red Bulls.

Final Thoughts

F1 Manager 2023 Podium
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While adding in new core gameplay elements and quality-of-life improvements, not to mention the feeling of better graphics and performance, F1 Manager 2023 doesn't make major steps to improve upon the previous title.

This isn’t a bad thing. This year's game definitely feels like an improvement over its predecessor, and in a series with a new annual release cadence, you can't ask for much more.

In my eyes, F1 Manager 2023 looks like it’s doing what is needed for the title, with room for more improvements season after season, year after year.

Looking to find out more about F1 Manager 2023? Check out everything we know so far.

Jake is GGRecon's Co-Founder and Operations Director. You'll find him covering our word game brain teasers, as well as sports games such as Football Manager and EA FC. He's also that teammate on your Rocket League team spamming "Wow!".