Frontier Developments has planted a solid foundation with its first iteration of the Formula 1 management series, F1 Manager 2022.
It may have its janky physics and wonky edges, but roleplaying as a team principal has been a great experience, especially when you reach the constructors’ championship as a backmarker.
With the franchise’s potential looking good from its first outing, F1 Manager 2023 is in active development for release next year. With this in mind, here are some features and improvements I’d like to see that I believe can provide an even more immersive experience.
Enter as the 11th team
Starting off with the obvious, becoming the 11th team on the grid is one thing that I think everyone would love to see.
Compared to the bigger brother F1 22 series by EA Sports, its My Team career mode allows you to become an extra, fictional, team as you play both roles of team principal and first driver. You’re able to customise your team logo, colours and livery, with the team of your dreams sitting alongside the major racing teams on the grid.
There’s a possibility that Frontier already have plans to include this in the next iteration, but it doesn’t stop us from requesting this feature anyway.
On top of this, how about the option of working your way up to F1, by starting out in a feeder series such as Formula 2, Formula 3 or W Series?
Then your team can go from nothing to something through these series, whether that’s through proving yourself as a competent team principal, or by simply reaching a certain payment target. Just imagine having the objective of earning a few million dollars to pay for a spot in a higher series, or being scouted out by a real team. Tremendous feats to work towards.
Involve public relations opportunities
Taking a leaf out of the Football Manager series, involving more opportunities to talk to others is a potentially great feature to include.
Let us conversate with the team with responses to everyone or individual members, which in return may increase or decrease morale. Let us participate in press conferences and answer stupid questions from the media, even including praise, controversies, rumours or even the option to storm out of the meeting.
Imagine blasting the ever-living crap out of another driver simply because they unfortunately locked up into your driver.
You could even allow some sort of metric that shows how social media views you in the eyes of a fan. Allow the board to be influenced by your responses, where giving an answer can affect the team’s PR level which also affects merchandise sales, team morale and your attractiveness to other teams.
Remember, the chassis department will notice that…
Deeper contract negotiations
One of my biggest bugbears with F1 Manager 2022 is how the contract negotiations are handled. You can earn four great marks from the driver, but then it fails due to them wanting a five-year contract rather than three-years.
This is completed on the exact same day, whereas emailing them a contract and letting them discuss it with their agent for a few days would be a far more realistic approach. On top of this, the member is on your team from the moment the terms are accepted.
Having them lined up for the next season is a far easier and more realistic approach to acquiring new talent. On top of that, it would be preferred to have the option of either keeping it a secret or announcing it to the world.
If you choose the former, this could maintain the current drivers’ morale level throughout the rest of the season, but the risk of this news leaking to the media could massively decrease morale throughout the team.
Whereas if you choose the latter by not keeping it a secret, this could come with the cost of slightly reduced morale, as they are happy that you were transparent with them.
Just try not to burn bridges by having a terrible legal team and expecting a driver to race for you. That always ends well, doesn’t it Alpine?
Greater driver input
Sometimes you want to sit back and let the AI do the work for you. They are professional drivers, after all, so they definitely know how to manage their tyres, fuel and ERS levels through their racing experience.
Having the automatic control feature from the qualifying sessions added to the race is a must-have, in my opinion. For example, the driver sometimes takes initiative on the ideal time to pit by extending their stint for a few more laps, which does increase their morale for the team due to having trust in them to go that extra mile.
When it comes to set-ups, their feedback needs to be far better than simply having multiple one-word options. Again, for example, let them tell us about the exact areas where they would like adjustments. Would they like less rear wing, more front wing, or slightly less toe-out? Rather than leaving it up to us to guess where the optimal point is.
Their preferences also need to come into play too, so someone like Alex Albon may prefer more oversteer on their car, whereas their teammate may prefer understeer.
This is where the Race Simulator could come into play as well. Rather than simply being a money sink for driver development, allow the drivers to use this in-between races to refine their set-ups. Better yet, allocate the reserve driver or even bring on a simulator driver to the team, allowing better feedback towards the set-up aims and giving them some experience points in return.
It’s a team game after all, so having everyone involved to gain that extra tenth is key.
This will be a tremendous feat to undertake as adding online is not as simple as many perhaps think.
However, I’m dreaming about playing along with my friends in this game. There will be the potential for leagues, multiple player career modes, esports and many more. The opportunities are vast. You could set a specific amount of races within the calendar, allow an equal playing field across all teams, involve custom teams and so much more.
You may be surprised to learn that Football Manager has previously been involved in esports. Back in 2018, a tournament was hosted at the Insomnia 62 Gaming Festival, with the winner going on to win £15,000 and the ability to manage the Norwich City Legends team for a charity football match against Inter Forever.
Just imagine that, being the winner of an esports event within F1 Manager 2023 and then getting the chance to become Team Principal for a feeder series team. Well now we’re getting carried away as this will obviously never happen in a million years, but it’s an incredible dream we would all love to experience.
Greater opponent information
One element that is surprisingly absent currently is the ability to find out what’s going on with the rest of the field. Just like yourself, every team is also communicating back and forth from pit-wall to driver, which has been shown to influence other teams with their strategy decisions, leading to some tricky coded messages being sent over team radio.
As an example, teams often refer to strategies as a plan as a way to hide their procedures within a race.
Having an extra member of staff to listen in and report to the main gameplay screen could work wonders, as this can help deter an undercut, adjust according to their push levels or if an opponent has damage on their car.
Using this information, you can change your strategies around what the AI are up to. Maybe even add in another facility to help out with boosting this element, just like the existing Weather Centre.
Finally, I have an array of small tweaks I would like to see within future iterations.
Firstly, the simulation speed can do with being increased a touch. At the moment, having to sit through a race at 16x speed is quite long and leads to an hour and a half race being more than five and a half minutes. If this was increased to 32x or 64x, this would be just under three minutes, or one and a half minutes.
On top of that, having the opportunity to save in-between race sessions or even simulate them entirely is something else that I think is desperately needed. I’ve had a few times where both drivers have retired, which you then have to sit through the entire session until the leaders finish. The experience will improve dramatically if you were able to simulate these sessions, especially from the pre-race screen.
Lastly, having a look at previous results is also a key feature. The game already contains previous race data, but we would like to see what our previous seasons results were. Even seeing how the F2 and F3 drivers are getting on within their championship helps aid a decision when looking for new talent, as this is currently unavailable in the game. Besides, those numbers help back up our trophy cabinet.
However, what do you think? Let us know your suggestions in the comments below.