F1 Manager 2023 Review

Before I start, a confession; F1 Manager 23 has been my most anticipated release of 2023. In my opinion Frontier absolutely smashed F1 Manager 22 out the park considering it was their first attempt at an F1 manager style game. However, it was no real surprise given the release of their past titles such as Jurassic World Evolution and Zoo Tycoon. So, what does Frontier have in store for us for the second installment in the F1 Manager franchise? Let’s dig into it.

Firstly, I’m mostly going to concentrate on what’s new in this year’s game, so if you want a more detailed overview then please go read my review of last year’s game.

So what’s new then? Let’s start with some of the on-track action shall we. You’ll find practice sessions are more vital this year as they go towards your drivers ‘readiness rating’. The readiness of your driver can affect your driver’s confidence as well, which is also a new feature – drivers confidence.

As I just mentioned, Drivers confidence is new, and it’s vital to how your driver performs over the race weekend. If you don’t get your driver setup correct or don’t get enough practice, there’s an increased likelihood of your driver making a mistake during either qualifying or the race itself. If a driver then makes a mistake during the race their confidence will go down and increase the likelihood of another mistake. Other factors like failing to make an overtake can affect your drivers confidence as well.  Of course, positive actions like making that overtake or just being able to put in consistent laps will help raise their confidence and reduce the likelihood and with the ability to now tell your drivers be more aggressive when performing overtakes, confidence will have pivotal role on the outcome.

My favourite of the new on track features is the visor cam. It was a big hit when it was introduced into the real world so to have it here in F1 Manager 23 is a major plus. It gives you a real feel for each action the driver takes, whether they’re trying to make an overtake and or on a flying lap in qualifying. There’s no limit to it either, so if you wanted to watch through the visor cam for a whole session, you can!

There is also ‘battle assist’ this year, which will instruct your drivers to save a portion of their ERS battery for when a rival car gets to within 1 second of them, which for anyone who’s not familiar with Formula One allows the driver behind to open a flap in their rear wing to gain a speed boost to aid with overtaking. You’ll also see the AI drivers using their tyres more this year – last year, pretty much every driver’s tyre wear was the same throughout a race. That changes this year as you’ll be able to visibly see which drivers have been pushing to catch their rivals or pull out a gap.

So, that’s on track, but what about off track. F1 Manager 23 introduces a new member of your backroom staff, The Sporting Director. The Sporting director oversees your pit crew, the better your Sporting Director, the better your pit crew can grow. The pit crew have more significance this year as well as you can assign them a training schedule. The schedule lets you decide which aspect of their training you want to focus on. For example, if you want your pit crew to perform faster pit stops you can, but that will come at the cost of neglecting errors or car building. Your pit crew also have a fatigue bar so you’ll have to be careful and not overwork them!

There are lots of ‘quality of life’ improvements as well, there are too many to rattle of here but I’ll go through a few of them here. When building new parts to improve your car you can now make the part better, but that comes with the side effect of making the part less reliable. Car parts now only last a certain number of races, so you’ll have to keep an eye on how worn the part is, so if you build a new car part with less reliability then you’ll be building more than usual and eating into the spending cap.

Driver and staff development has had a revamp this year and promises to be much better than just waiting for a development point to upgrade a certain stat. Other than balanced there are 6 different development areas for you drivers to focus on and home in on their weaknesses. For example, if you have a driver that struggles in wet weather conditions, then you can train the 4 key areas that affect their wet weather stats.

After not being in last year’s game, Sprint weekends make their debut in F1 Manager 23, so if you’re familiar with how they work you know that practice and getting your drivers confidence levels up will be vital at these weekends!

The only real negative I can think of for this years this game is that at launch you’ll still be unable to change teams. However, Frontier have acknowledged this was a big thing for us last year and should be available once they release the September update.

A whole new addition to the F1 Manager franchise for this year is the ‘Race Replay’ feature, which is your chance to re-write any race of the 2023 season. You can pick a team a do the whole race or you can take on a specific challenge like trying to keep Alex Albon in the points at the Bahrain GP or perhaps you fancy trying to better the tyre strategy that Aston Martin gave Fernando Alonso and guide him to a famous win in Monaco. The Race replays can also act as an extended tutorial for those that might be unfamiliar with Formula One, as you can restart and replay each one to your heart’s content without having to potentially compromise your career save.

For those that pre-ordered and for the people that purchased the Deluxe edition of F1 Manager 23 there are some exclusive scenarios; three for the people that pre-ordered and twelve for those who opted for the deluxe. These offer different kinds of challenges. There are some races that are done with equal car performance, there’s a ‘no preparation’ challenge in Canada and a reduced tyre allocation challenge at The Netherlands.

Conclusion

Frontier have worked their magic to ensure it’s the best F1 Manager game out there and have another smash hit on their hands. With the Race Replay feature and the ability to change teams coming down the road, F1 Manager will keep fans pinned to their team principle chairs.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Race Replays are a good for returning and new players
  • New Driver & Staff Development
  • Confidence system adds more depth to race days
Bad
  • Unable to switch teams in a career save at launch
9.5
Excellent
Written by
I first got my hands on a gaming console in ‘91 with the NES and haven’t looked back since, playing on a variety of consoles and PCs over the years. Once a year you will also find me doing a trilogy play through of either Mass Effect or Dragon Age.

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