F1 Manager 24 preview – Create A Team is an absolute game changer

F1 Manager 24

Frontier Developments’ excellent annual sport-management series returns once again with F1 Manager 24, and it’s already shaping up to be the most feature-rich entry to date. Big new features like Create A Team and mechanical failures make their debut, adding layers of depth, customization and strategy that weren’t present in last year’s entry.

I sat down for a remote hands-on preview of the game and got to try out some of these new features ahead of its release. Over the course of a few hours, I was able to get stuck into the new Create A Team feature and experience some of the changes and additions in store with this year’s entry and, ultimately, walked away with a glowing impression. 

Dream team

(Image credit: Frontier Developments)

The first half of my F1 Manager 24 session was entirely dedicated to the new Create A Team feature, which lets you build up an all-original team to compete against the existing 10 on the grid. Now, Frontier does have a background in creativity-first experiences, being the developer behind hits like Planet Coaster and the Jurassic World Evolution series. Still, I was seriously impressed with just how in-depth its first attempt at a Create A Team feature is shaping up to be.

Let’s go step by step, as there’s plenty for you to customize and adjust before lights out at Bahrain. Firstly, you’ll need to enter a name for your team (I naturally went for ‘TRG Racing’), as well as the quantity and quality of resources available to you. There are some quick-start options if you’d rather get straight into the action, which dictate things like initial car and facilities performance, as well as your starting budget.

However, where I think most players will land is the ‘Your Story’ option, which lets you completely customize your would-be 11th team from the ground up. Want to be a promising new backmarker with the funds for big upgrades? Or perhaps a consistent midfield team that’s fallen on cash-strapped times? All of these scenarios and much more are possible, and all before you’ve selected your driver and staff lineup.

F1 Manager 24

(Image credit: Frontier Developments)

Choosing my drivers and staff ended up being a pretty tough decision, but ultimately, I settled on creating a team not unlike Haas; that being a lower-grid team with the potential to break into the midfield. With that in mind, I went for Williams’ Alex Albon and Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg, carrying over their race engineers from those teams, too. What’s more, you can also pick from the roster of F2 and F3 talent, or choose from a selection of generated, fictional drivers if you’re really looking to start from scratch.

I definitely needed a breather after making all these tough decisions, and thankfully, Frontier brought the goods with in-depth livery, logo and racing suit editors. This is where I felt the Create A Team feature really came into its own, as the actual design process felt intuitive and robust, with easy-to-learn tools.

For your car’s livery, you can choose from a bunch of preset designs to get the ball rolling, or start completely from scratch and apply your own color schemes – I went with TRG’s trademark purple and black, with some white-gold accents for good measure. On top of this, you can set custom gradients, place sponsor logos, or opt for carbon fiber elements if you’re looking to balance out your colors with some sleek accents. 

Like any good creation tool, I found myself spending an exorbitant amount of time in the initial Create A Team process, but especially with the in-depth logo editor. It offers hundreds of shapes and a handful of fonts to help your team’s presence stand out, all of which can have their scale, rotation, position and colors completely adjusted to your liking. From top to bottom, then, Create A Team offers an incredibly robust experience well before your first race has even begun.

It’s lights out…

F1 Manager 24

(Image credit: Frontier Developments)

Long-time F1 Manager fans will  be pleased to hear that the series’ electrifying on-track experience is intact. The user interface, as well as the options available to you during a race, remain largely identical to last year’s entry. Although this might sound disappointing to some, I see this as a real positive as Frontier has clearly elected to maintain what isn’t broken, while offering a number of improvements to help races feel more dynamic and unpredictable elsewhere.

One major new feature I got to experience during the preview was mechanical faults. During races, your cars’ individual parts will wear down, more so if you’re really pushing for pace and positions. You won’t just be managing tire wear and fuel usage now; you’ll also need to keep a close eye on parts like your gearbox, engine and ERS unit. The more these parts wear down, the more likely they are to develop faults that adversely affect your cars’ performance.

You’ll be down, but not out in situations like this, and I loved the additional layer of intensity brought to races with mechanical faults present. For example, in the second half of the preview, I got to control the Red Bull team, with both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez experiencing mechanical faults at the Australian Grand Prix.

With both drivers in dire straits, I elected to focus on bringing Max home for a podium finish as he was already in a points-scoring position. Despite the car struggling to keep itself together, I had no choice but to push as the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Aston Martin closed the gap. Unfortunately, I ended up pushing a little too hard, running out of fuel just before the checkered flag. A miserable end to a race, but also a valuable lesson in how F1 Manager 24’s mechanical faults make moment-to-moment car management absolutely vital.

I ended the session really pleased with F1 Manager 24’s additions and improvements. As ever, the game’s implementation of motion blur is some of the best I’ve ever seen, and the new ‘heli’ camera option provides a broadcast-like view of the race that’s both immersive and extremely welcome. I can’t wait to take TRG Racing through a full season when the game launches on July 23 for PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S. 

You might also like…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *