Last year, F1 fans got a different flavour of the motorsport in gaming with Frontier Developments’ F1 Manager 2022, which emphasized on managing and expanding every aspect of your own F1 team rather than taking control of cars in actual races. It was a solid debut for the series, even if there was plenty of room for improvement- and with the upcoming F1 Manager 2023, Frontier is looking to make several of those improvements. We recently reached out to its developers to ask about what fans can look forward to were gameplay improvements and changes are concerned, and how F1 Manager 2023 is going to build on its predecessor’s foundation. Below, you can read our interview with game director Adam Fletcher and executive producer Stuart Warren.
"The addition of post-race part inspections is a key new layer to the car development gameplay. The fact that you can’t rely on your parts to last indefinitely now means that their durability needs to be considered at the design phase."
What can you tell us about new additions like hiring a Sporting Director and new training calendars for pit crew and how they will impact the gameplay?
Andrew Fletcher (Game Director): The pit crew management system allows players to influence where their pit crew will excel when the race weekend comes around. The training schedule for your pit crew is set by the player, via the new Sporting Director role, and can focus on mitigating costly mistakes, improving car setup times, or reducing the overall pit stop time. On top of this, there are several other factors to consider, such as the fatigue that your pit crew will build up if you work them too hard, the types of mistake that your pit crew tend to make, and the DHL Fastest Pit Stop award, which provides added incentives for teams who can achieve the fastest times.
A well-executed pit stop can be the difference between a team achieving its race objectives or losing track position to their rivals. It’s a whole new area of the game that encompasses both deeper team management and heightened race drama, in the form of those crucial pit stops and race-defining mistakes.
F1 Manager 2023 will also be simulating full F2 and F3 sessions. What will that bring to the table, especially where scouting future recruits is concerned?
Fletcher: It’s great to realistically simulate those competitions as it helps build out the wider world of F1 in the game in an authentic way. But it’s also a useful way of seeing which drivers are performing well, and that you might want to lock into a contract for next season before another team snaps them up.
Stuart Warren (Executive Producer): It’s also important to note that this year you’ll see your drivers’ ratings start to fade with age, so if they’re not performing to the standards expected of them it might be time to look into F2 or F3 in order to spot the next world champion. That’s not to say that more experienced drivers on the grid can’t succeed, as we’ve seen with drivers like Fernando Alonso in the real sport this season, they’re still able to develop if they’re consistently achieving.
What are the biggest improvements the game is making when it comes to building and tuning cars?
Fletcher: The addition of post-race part inspections is a key new layer to the car development gameplay. The fact that you can’t rely on your parts to last indefinitely now means that their durability needs to be considered at the design phase. Lighter and less durable parts will give you strong on-track performance, but if it means you have to manufacture more parts across the season, then that extra investment may come back to bite you, especially if it takes you near to the cost cap limit.
"The pit crew management system allows players to influence where their pit crew will excel when the race weekend comes around."
Do you have any plans to add multiplayer support to the game, especially given the demand from players?
Fletcher: F1 Manager 2023 is a single player experience, and our focus is on creating a deep and rewarding management experience with authenticity at its core.
What can you tell us about the races themselves, and what sort of improvements F1 Manager 2023 is making to the broadcast experience?
Fletcher: This year we’ve focused on refining every aspect of the race weekend, from gameplay elements like AI improvements, driver confidence, and tyre temperature management, to presentational ones like expanded team radio, improved visual effects, and our new visor camera mode. Overall, I think players will find that the simulation is a lot more dynamic. There are more dramatic corner battles and more strategic options available to help you fight through the pack.
The new Race Replay mode is one that has caught the eye of many players. What can you tell us about it, and how extensively it will allow players to rewrite the 2023 season?
Fletcher: As F1 fans ourselves, we’re following every race of the 2023 season with as much excitement as anyone, and we wanted a way for players to engage with the ongoing Championship through F1 Manager. Race Replay allows players to do just that across two scenario types: Starting Grid and Race Moments. Starting Grid authentically recreates the conditions at the start of the Grand Prix, from weather to tyre availability to updated car performance data, and allows you to manage any team and create a unique race story for them. Race Moments drop you into a critical point in the race with a particular team, set you a specific challenge to overcome, and allow you to play and re-play different approaches to see how things could have played out had you been the one behind the pit wall. We love the idea of F1 Manager forming part of the post-race experience for F1 fans, and so as new races take place, we will release new Race Replay content so that you can jump back in and play with latest Grand Prix narratives and turning points yourself.
"Alongside updated scenarios arriving in Race Replay mode after each real world race weekend throughout the 2023 season, we are delighted to confirm that in early September we’ll also be bringing the ability for players to change teams based on their performance."
Support for F1 Manager 2022 slowed down not long after its launch. What are your plans for F1 Manager 2023’s post-launch support?
Warren: Alongside updated scenarios arriving in Race Replay mode after each real world race weekend throughout the 2023 season, we are delighted to confirm that in early September we’ll also be bringing the ability for players to change teams based on their performance. So for example, a strong season at the helm of a team in the mid-pack might attract the attention of one of the top teams, likewise a poor season might see their options limited to only a handful of offers from other teams.
This feature is another example of how we’ve added more flexibility to the way in which F1 Manager 2023 can be played, and we’re excited to see how this will extend players’ legacies as Team Principals.