The vibrant world of video games exponentially becomes more nuanced as the years pass by. Nowadays there is quite literally something for everyone. But that doesn’t mean that everything is for everyone. In fact, some niche titles like F1 Manager 2023 may largely escape the masses like a feather in a windstorm. But this esoteric genre will find a place among F1 fans, particularly those who are enraptured by the entire ordeal of bringing a team up through the ranks of the Formula 1 World Championship.
With that said, F1 Manager 2023 may not everyone’s cup of tea. But that absolutely isn’t a commentary on the title’s quality. The elements of this simulation that ultimately make the game what it is, but some players may find it to be tedious and, at times overwhelming. But this is a world that others may truly thrive in. And while some players may struggle with the entire sports management sub-genre from a preferential perspective, there’s no denying that F1 Manager 2023 absolutely excels in what it sets out to do.
"While I struggle with the entire sports management sub-genre from a preferential perspective, there’s no denying that F1 Manager 2023 absolutely excels in what it sets out to do."
From a gameplay perspective, those familiar with F1 Manager 2022 will easily understand the layout of 2023. Essentially, you’ll be split between the day-to-day work of maintaining your team as the appointed principal and the action that unfolds on race days. The former is represented by a series of screens and menus. Think of it like sitting at a desk and fielding emails while interacting with those you manage. One of the primary guiding points for those new to management sims will, in fact, be your emails. Often the staff on your team offer recommendations and suggestions and you get to choose how you respond. But the real nitty gritty comes when you manage your staff and make preparations for upcoming races. There’s a copious amount of options at your disposal. For starters, you’ll want to study the details of the upcoming circuit. This will help inform your decisions regarding car modifications. You may need to design or manufacture parts that boost the overall performance of the vehicles that best suit the track. For instance, one particular circuit may involve a lot of cornering that requires you to modify the handling of your team’s vehicles.
Managing your calendar and ensuring that you’re maximizing sponsorship engagement and also bringing in more funds than your expending is crucial to the survival of your outfit. Ultimately, you as the principal answer to the board of your team, and they can fire you in the event that they aren’t satisfied. Facilities must be maintained and you should look into investing in your facilities for further advantages. These buildings range from development locations for your vehicles to staff and operations facilities. The game informs you of your overall budget and every decision you make has a cost including monthly upkeep of these facilities. When you’re scouting for Technical Chiefs, Race Engineers, or any other position on your team, you must be cognizant of the time you’re expending on your primary scouts and the cost of bringing in these experts you’re seeking. Profiles for these folks indicate such details as to whether they’re willing to negotiate salaries, etc.
You also must keep up with your staff. Because you don’t actually have the experience of personable interactions with your team, the game simply tells you how their morale is holding up. You must schedule practice sessions for your pit crew. But if you overwork them, they’ll become tired and their performance will suffer as a result. You must also boost the confidence of your primary drivers. This is done through rigorous practice on the circuit and making any necessary tweaks to improve your advantage. Your drivers’ confidence plays a hefty role in their eventual performance during the qualifiers and the big race day. On race day, you have to select your strategy for pit stops. And you, of course, want to ensure you stagger the pit stops between your drivers so you don’t have them both pulling in at the same time.
"All of this is to say that there are a lot of details, menus, and aspects of your business to manage."
All of this is to say that there are a lot of details, menus, and aspects of your business to manage. For some, like me, all of these menus, submenus, and important data become overwhelming. But in reality, it’s organized well and will speak to those who thrive in this work environment – just like in real life.
You can choose whether you want to be hands-on for practice sessions, or let your team handle it which results in a breezy load screen. Viewing the practice allows you to see the performance of the car so that you can make any changes. The drivers will test the steering and handling. So, while going in hands-off may be the simpler method, it may not always be best for the race ahead.
Race days are ultimately the big payoff. It’s a chance to see if your work paid off in enabling your team the best chance at success. Sponsorships offer incentives for high performance during race events. Meeting those marks ensures a substantial cash influx for your team. Furthermore, if your Pit Crew and drivers are happy and healthy with a winning attitude, everything should go swimmingly. You’re given the opportunity to then watch the race as you would in real-life, albeit with stats on the screen in real time indicating your drivers’ lap speeds and car performance and everything in between. You can switch views to watch the race from various camera angles on each of your drivers’ cars or simply get the televised version. If you don’t have time to watch these cars run 60 laps, you can crank up the speed of the simulation to 16x. Though the game will put the speed back to 1x every time an event happens such as a collision. At the end of the day, you’ll be inundated with an analysis of your team’s performance following the race which should help inform you for your next go at it.
F1 Manager 2023 really only falters in its visual presentation. Animations are rigid, and the in-game design of staff and drivers is washed out and unimpressive. While the cars and tracks look great, even the animations of the cars racing are a tad stiff. Cars weaving in and out doesn’t always feel organic. However, the bland graphical display isn’t a real detraction from the thrill of rooting for your team and hoping for the success you’ve been working toward.
"F1 Manager 2023 really only falters in its visual presentation. Animations are rigid, and the in-game design of staff and drivers is washed out and unimpressive."
This may all sound very familiar to you if you’ve played F1 Manager 2022. However, you have the added benefit of roster updates and commentary regarding the actual real-world 2022 season as you head into the 2023 season of your own making. At the end of the day, F1 Manager 2023 accomplishes its goal of being a meaty management simulation. Those who are new to the world of team management can indicate as such when starting the 2023 season which will offer plenty of guidance in-game. If you have played a couple of management simulations in the past, you will need all the help you could get. And while this sub-genre may not rank high in your favored gameplay types, it must be recognized that it largely succeeds in what it sets out to do. F1 fans will undoubtedly be thrilled with what F1 Manager 2023 offers.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 5.
Significant depth; Authentic feel; Layered gameplay.
Subpar graphical presentation during cutscenes and AI-controlled races.