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Here's what it's like to make a new F1 team in F1 Manager 2024

TG gets an early play with F1 Manager 2024's team creation mode. Rumour has it Eddie Jordan is quaking in his boots

Published: 15 May 2024

Have you ever spent a Sunday half-watching the F1, divvying up your imagined Euromillions winnings and allocating the budget for your own team? No, us neither. But a friend of ours – you don’t know them, we met them on holiday – has, and it does strike us as an enticing idea. 

Because instead of being a passive admirer of motorsport’s most glamorous format, owning a team would give us a seat at that diamond-encrusted table. A chance to test out the hypotheticals we’ve been running over in our minds for years: the driver pairing we’d assemble, our development philosophy, and most importantly, that cool livery we came up with and sketched onto our homework diary in year 9 maths would now be sitting resplendent on the grid. 

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Frontier Developments knows that’s how nearly every F1 fan’s mind operates. It’s why they’ve built a new team creation system into F1 Manager 2024, rich and deep in all the right areas, full of customisation, and with enough setup options to let you dial in the amount of challenge you’re looking for. 

Before you even get as far as naming your team, you find yourself in an options menu where you can decide your new team’s starting budget, as well as the level of facilities you’ll begin with in relation to other teams. It’s basically a fancy version of the ‘easy, medium, hard’ difficulty screen, but much more granular. And this being both a management game and an F1 game, granular is good. 

There’s also something of an origin story to select here, from the plucky startup that Eddie Jordan would be proud of to a returning giant with formidable resources at its disposal. These work as difficulty presets if you don’t feel like getting specific about exactly how good your wind tunnel is at the start of your team’s journey, but it’s also the beginning of the story you’re telling yourself in your mind. 

That’s key in sports management games. Football Manager’s enduring brilliance is at least partly down to the way its alchemy of spreadsheet-like menus, an email inbox and Subbuteo-grade match engine conjures a totally convincing world of football in your imagination. F1 Manager is absolutely correct to take the same strategy, giving you just enough narrative prompts to inflame your inner storyteller. 

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It takes weeks for new and improved front wings and side pods to appear on your car, since everything from the design and production phases of development is simulated here. Much like Alpine in 2024, we don’t have that kind of time. Unlike the oft-memed French team, we’re able to simply select our place in the hierarchy, gifting ourselves with the maximum possible budget, the best facilities, and a car that’s just a shade off the absolute pace set by Red Bull.  

But now the real work begins. The most crucial part of any new Formula One team’s inception: coming up with a wicked livery design.

This is where you can really feel the attention that’s been lavished upon F1 Manager 2024’s create a team mode. And where you’ll lose an entire afternoon exploring the options. There are preset designs covering old-school patterns and wilder modern schemes. And choice of material types for every colour zone. Goodness, look in here - there are customisable colour gradients. Cancel that table we had booked this evening - we’ve got an early ‘00s Renault to recreate. 

Player expression is important here. Formula One can appear stifling in its corporate considerations, so the chance to stand out with a car that isn’t bogged down in brand guidelines and ‘heritage’ colours with precise RGB values is a lip-smacking one. Arguably, the reason that Brawn GP car has become such an enduring aesthetic pleasure isn’t because white, fluro yellow and black are an especially divine combination, but because the car’s sponsor-light appearance and brash, retina-jarring colour palette seemed to be sticking it to the establishment. And here’s your chance to do it again in 2024, without Richard Branson’s help.

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Or just recreate the Brawn livery. We had a go at that one too. 

Onto the driver and staff lineup. There’s a heaving roster of current F1 and junior category drivers here, along with some AI-generated fictional prospects who look much more convincing than the usual regens in sports games, and only a tiny bit terrifying. We select future superstar Théo Pourchaire and Antonio Giovinazzi, fondly imagining the Italian veteran might mentor our young talent.

Well, that’s how we imagine it playing out, but we’ve only got one race with this preview build. We take our new cars to Bahrain, then, and set many an IP lawyer’s eyebrow at maximum tilt with our nostalgic blue and yellow livery. 

When you reach a race weekend, F1 Manager’s clinical screens give way to a more TV-style presentation and put you in real-time control over both drivers’ pit strategies, tire management, and ERS deployment. The big change to races this year is the introduction of mechanical failures, which might bring out a safety car and open up a window of opportunity to devise a heroic strategy from the midfield – or might scupper your own chances of a result and have you babying the car over the finish line.   

You might not be all that surprised to hear that Max Verstappen won the race. Despite our best efforts to look after tires and deploy the fuel and battery strategically, Red Bull’s dominance continued. But if points were handed out for looking cool - and don’t rule that out of Liberty Media’s long-term plan - Pourchaire and Giovinazzi would have a handy lead heading into round two.

F1 Manager releases later in 2024 - there’s no precise release date yet. While you wait, you can watch the latest trailer which showcases its team creation tools. 

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