F1 22 Preview: New Cars, New Miami GP, No Porpoises!

Even if it didn’t add any new songs, no new play modes, F1 22 would have always been a bear to the developers of Codemasters. New rules for the cars’ engines, fuel mixtures and aerodynamics packages have completely recreated the real pecking order of Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and the others after four real races. Before we talk about new modes, liveries or tweaks, Lee Mather’s job is to give Formula 1 fans a real-life game that plays to the expectations of viewers and commentators – and those are still in development, right up to the launch of the game.

“We have less time to understand the performance order of the cars; we have less time to understand the nuances of each of the teams,” Mather, the game’s creative director, said in an interview with Polygon. “It’s something we’ve always really focused on – what [cars] were good at braking, which had good traction, which cars were particularly good on wet surfaces, and which engines were strong on a certain type of track. We understood all those things. Now it’s all new, and it’s all learning.”

They don’t fly completely in the dark, Mather noted. Codemasters will still get data from all 10 race teams with every session they run, and the developers will imbue their game’s handling model with it at the Canadian Grand Prix, the last race before F1 22‘s launch on July 1 (June 28 for those who pre-order the Champions Edition). In a preview build made available last week, I felt a car that, with the difficulty settings I used in F1 2021drove consistently and predictably on standard race setups – but the game made it clear that finding the sweet spot on the rear wing will be the key to unlocking lap times in the top 20% of the leaderboards.

It speaks for itself; in the new rules, the F1 car runs lower and wider, but the rear wing that supplies downforce and traction to the driveshaft is also lower, relative to the rest of the chassis, than in last year’s car. F1’s new cars are more focused on spreading airflow and making chasing cars easier to overtake opponents, as that makes for more competitive racing. It will take a while to see this manifest in the preview build of F1 22

The four tracks included – Imola, Silverstone, the Red Bull Ring in Austria and the all-new Miami International Autodrome around the Hard Rock Stadium – are not the “rear limited” kind that, even last year on the bigger cars, required drivers to tiptoe out of corners and throttle only when they can feel straight traction on the rear axle. Still, even with the “higher downforce” stock setup, I felt so much more confident coming out of Imola’s infamous Acqua Minerale bend – until I saw I qualified in last place by over two seconds against the difficulty I was in. walked in normally F1 2021 (95 to 97, out of 110). In short, serious racers should spend a lot of time testing their setups in Time Trial mode before diving straight into career mode.

Getting the handling of the new cars right — while approachable, for varying levels of interest and skill — is only part of the picture, Mather said. although F1 22 has only one new track, Miami, and several others have changed, most notably Australia’s Albert Park Circuit, which raced three weeks ago and had a Drag Reduction System zone — where cars can open their rear wings for an even higher straight-line speed — removed the day before qualifying. Whether it’s smoothing out a chicane or changing a DRS zone, Codemasters’ AI team needs to go back and retrain all the CPU drivers as if it were a new circuit, Mather said.

“The AI ​​will come around that track and they will reach a DRS zone that they didn’t expect,” Mather said as an example. “They will arrive at the next bend for 15 to 20 kilometers [per hour] faster than they expected. If I came 15 to 20 km/h too fast on that bend, I would immediately take off. Every little change, the knock-on effects can be weeks and months of work.”

And that raises a strange question, from fans asking if there’s some new and useless performance feature in the game, which mirrors what they see on TV and read in the blogs. It’s called ‘porpoises’ and the layman’s explanation is that, at high speed, the ground effects of the new cars can cause the suspension to lift, only to be pushed back down by the front and rear aerodynamics. As a result, the car looks like a dolphin propelling itself through the water. Although porpoise has had an influence on Mercedes’ cornering speed, where Ferrari only encounters it on the straights, for example, it is not present at all in F1 22said Mather. Not least because Codemasters, like the blindsided race teams, couldn’t predict this movement in the new car design.

“It’s not even a concept that we really have,” Mather said. “Unfastening and re-attaching aero is something we obviously have, but to cause the porpoise side effect […] that’s not something our physics is doing right now.”

This does not mean that F1 22The differences are only technical. But they’re not on the scale of introducing or recreating big new modes like F1 2021 did with his “Braking Point” story, or if F1 2020 done by landing the My Team career that has become an obsession for millions of people. The sprint qualifying format, currently implemented at three Grands Prix, is available at all events in one-off races or in Grand Prix mode, where players can define one season and set its rules. In career modes it is limited to only the events where sprint qualifying occurs in real life – Imola, the Austrian Grand Prix and Brazil.

presentation, F1 22 is working on a broadcast that meets the expectations of new fans in the United States. Formation laps and pit stops both have an “immersive” or “presentational” setting, meaning players can choose to drive out the non-competitive parts of a race, or sit back and listen to commentary as the AI ​​moves around the field behind a safety car brings or sets up the starting grid. Pit stops now have a new interactive feature where the driver presses a button to enter the pits at the best time, resulting in a shorter or longer pit stop. While this timing may depend on the efficiency of your pit team (which may go up or down in career modes), it amounts to little more than a second push of a button, akin to hitting the pit limiter directly on the line .

The locked combination of Anthony Davidson and David Croft (whose “It’s lights out, and away we go!” has become a trademark akin to Michael Buffer’s “Let’s get ready to rumble!”) can be exchanged for new voices such as Alex Jacques, heard a commentator on F1TV Pro; Natalie Pinkham, the pit lane reporter for Sky Sports in the UK; or Jacques Villeneuve, F1 royalty who analyzes races for the French Canal Plus network. This comment will be associated with new introductions and fade outs to give F1 22 a better broadcast feel, Mather said.

And it also means that “Jeff,” the generic racing engineer that players have been able to (literally) shut up for the past decade, has been let go. Marc Priestly, formerly a race mechanic and pit-stop team-mate for McLaren, is the new driver-to-pit contact, with audio recorded through a real Formula 1 headset, Mather said.

Although the options were not available in the preview shown to media, F1 22 promises more customization tools for the immersive My Team mode, where players create a new race team and control it themselves. The colors of the cars can now have different finishes, among other quality of life changes Codemasters has made to help players perfect their appearance. Additionally, players can start My Team from one of three starting points: a top-line contender; a midfield competitor, or a brand new goalkeeper working his way up. For the past two years, teams have started from the bottom up. Mather said the new options were re-implemented in the name of accessibility and fun for newer fans.

F1 22 launches July 1 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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