F1 2022 is Exhilarating, but It’s Still a Slow Start for New Players

Most of the additions to the F1 2022 game are excellent although I wonder if there's still room for improvement as a learning tool.

F1 2022 is a game that I’ve effectively been training for on a racing wheel since the beginning of 2021 when I started to fully “send it” down the motorsport tunnel. Learning the fascinatingly intricate mechanics of Formula 1 was like catnip for me. So after pouring hundreds of hours, at this point, into racing sims on PC and console, I’ve improved a ton. 

New and Improved

My first impressions of F1 2022’s preview build are positive across the board, but I can’t help but wish the game did more for those who need that extra bit of slipstream to understand motorsport minutiae. What could have been a comprehensive learning tool still requires a great deal of commitment.

Let’s start with the stuff I like so far. In a recent developer deep dive video, F1 2022’s Senior Game Designer, David Greco, claims that the major changes to the F1 cars this year can be felt mostly in the suspension model. That makes sense, as the new cars run lower to the ground. As far as I could tell, I do feel like I have a bit more understeer depending on what setup I’m running and what track I’m racing in, but it feels great so far. I’m more than happy to report that the actual racing in this game still feels as exhilarating as ever.

The new F1 TV-style presentation adds a nice touch to watching replays. There’s something about seeing the replays of a race (which I love to study like game tape) feel exactly like the races I’m used to watching live on Sundays. The actual game’s graphics have gotten a nice boost too, although there was just no way my PC could handle all of that Ray Tracing goodness. Let’s hope that’s ironed out for the final release.

F1 2022 Baku Alpha Tauri

Room for Improvement

I do wish more care was paid to helping newcomers to the sport learn about the intricacies of not only car setup, but how to improve on racecraft. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Gran Turismo’s willingness to go that extra mile, but it continues to feel like a missed opportunity here. 

Sure you can find most of what you’re hoping to learn on YouTube. But imagine if each track taught you the most effective lines for each sector like Gran Turismo does, or if it the game helped you learn how the hell to effectively do a manual start to a race (beyond some on-screen text in the literal seconds that lead up to the lights going out on the starting grid.)

The tutorials for the game are not final in this preview build so this could change in the full release, but the opaque learning curve is a persistent issue. From my time with the preview build, like with the previous title, the game gives you a very limited understanding of something or just gives you an option to turn on an assist that can take care of it for you. I wish there was some kind of middle ground here.

So far, the new stuff like F1 Life and Supercars don’t do much for me. Getting a chance to decorate a space with fancy luxury furniture while EDM blasts through my speakers just really ain’t my thing. And the Supercars feature — which lets you test drive supercars from manufacturers like Mercedes, Aston Martin and McLaren — makes me just want to play Gran Turismo instead. 

I am pumped, however, to find my VR headset after my recent move and check out the VR mode; assuming I can manage to not puke all over my sim rig into going turn one. So I’ll report back on that one. 

I’m still holding out hope that the final game will magically introduce helpful tutorials and modes that will make F1 2022 a more comprehensive learning tool for newcomers to the sport. Here in the US, we know there are exponentially more F1 fans, many of whom would be well served by a gentler introduction to the pits and the turns.

I totally understand why Codemasters may want to continue focusing on a dedicated niche audience here, but there’s a lot being left on the table. If you’re new to the sport and to the games themselves, just be ready to do a ton of homework. If you put the time in, that sense of speed is unmatched.