F1 Manager 2024 preview: Create a Team is the step up the series needs

F1 Manager 2024 preview: Create a Team is the step up the series needs
Images via Frontier

Written by 

Joshua Boyles

Published 

15th May 2024 15:00

2024 marks the third year running that Frontier is delivering a new instalment of F1 Manager, and this year’s game might just be the biggest step up yet. If 2023 was about tightening a few screws and polishing the liveries, 2024 is as if Frontier has brought an entirely new upgrade package to the race.

I spent a couple of hours with a development build of F1 Manager 2024, experimenting with the new Create a Team mode, as well as navigating a tricky mechanical fault scenario with the Red Bull team. The game is shaping up to be the most fully-formed iteration of the series yet and is exactly the sort of step forward that Frontier should be taking.

New kids on the block

Creating a team livery in F1 Manager 2024
Click to enlarge

Perhaps the biggest addition to F1 Manager 2024 this year is the new Create a Team mode. Previously, players were limited to picking one of the existing 10 teams already on the grid. Taking over the likes of McLaren, Williams, or Red Bull presented its own challenges, as you’d essentially take over their operations as they stood for that F1 season. For example, Haas was essentially hard mode given their limited budget and driver experience.

Now, you can choose to join the grid as a fabled 11th team, choosing your own name, driver line-up, and even how much money and experience the team has. In my preview, I chose to start with a relatively high starting balance and decent investment in my facilities and car performance. However, I could have chosen to make things much more difficult for myself and essentially roleplay as a newbie startup team.

Limitations are in place so that the whole thing isn’t a cakewalk, but it’s a fantastic addition that makes the game more accessible for those who’d like an easier ride.

Creating the GGRecon logo in F1 Manager 2024
Click to enlarge

The team customisation extends as far as choosing your own driver lineup, and even key staff members like the driver engineers and department heads. I decided to proceed with Sainz and Piastri as my driving duo, pairing a rookie star alongside one of the other best names in the sport right now. These choices were also dictated by my chosen budget, which impacted which drivers were within my reach.

Next up is the all-important logo and livery design. Frontier has included a pretty comprehensive design suite here, with a few preset options to get you started. They’re remarkably easy to use, as demonstrated by my ability to recreate our company logo in not much time at all. Your team logo doesn’t just appear on the car, but also regularly in the menus, timing sheets, and leaderboards - a neat reminder of your individual identity in each race.

It’s that identity switch that really makes a difference this year, as taking control of a team I can truly call my own feels far more engaging than essentially role-playing as one that already exists. That mode of play is still here, should you choose - but guiding Sainz into a points finish at Bahrain felt far more satisfying when he’s doing it for a team of my own.

Tyres are gone

Red Bull cars experiencing a mechanical failure in F1 Manager 2024
Click to enlarge

Another big addition that permeates all modes of play in F1 Manager 2024 is mechanical failures. While it was possible for you to get punctures in previous titles, mechanical risk has been extended to areas like the engine power unit and the ERS systems, all of which now have their own health bars in the race control menu.

In my preview, I was dropped into a race scenario at the helm of Red Bull, with Verstappen and Perez duking it out at the Australian GP. Outside of the usual tyre, ERS and fuel management, I also needed to keep an eye on things like component temperatures, which were abnormally high for both Verstappen and Perez.

In terms of gameplay, this adds a new layer of tactics to be aware of. You need to cool off on using so much ERS or bring down the pace a notch to avoid a total mechanical failure, and it’s all about finding those opportune windows in which you can cool off safely without risking track position.

This isn’t too tricky when you’re focusing on one driver, but becomes exponentially more tricky when you’ve got two on the go. I managed to nurse Verstappen to a podium finish, crawling over the line just behind Norris (a delightful recreation of the real-world Miami result over the weekend). Meanwhile, Perez ended up completely outside of the points after a disappointing race with plenty of ERS dropouts.

F1 Managers 2024 mechanical failures
Click to enlarge

Where mechanical failures get even more exciting is that they don’t just happen to your team - anyone on the grid can also experience faults if their hardware is struggling. I had the likes of Leclerc and Magnussen encounter tricky scenarios themselves, resulting in either a full race dropout or a drop on the leaderboards.

Overall, it added a whole new layer of data and stats to consider when racing, and while I’d like to see the data displayed a little more clearly in the launch build, it’s ultimately an excellent gameplay addition.

Going into this preview, I was a little worried about how much further Frontier could push an already fairly well-rounded racing sim manager experience. Coming out the other side of it, it’s clear that the team has thought long and hard about the sort of features that players would enjoy experimenting with. I’m very excited to play more when the game launches on July 23.

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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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