Everything I Wish I’d Known Before Starting F1 Manager 2022

Everything I Wish I’d Known Before Starting F1 Manager 2022

F1 Manager 2022 has been out for a couple of weeks now, to the delight of fans excited to run their own team. With Formula 1 skyrocketing in popularity thanks to Netflix’s Drive to Survive, fans worldwide have become fascinated with different facets of the sport. Unlike F1 22, where the goal is to become the greatest driver on the grid, F1 Manager 2022 puts players in the role of Team Principal. You are in charge of the team’s entire destiny — who it hires and fires, which parts and upgrades the engineers will prioritise, balancing the books and presiding over race weekend strategy. The buck stops, quite literally, with you.

The depth of options available to you at any given moment in F1 Manager 2022 can be utterly overwhelming. In my first few races, it felt like I was discovering new menus and information all the time. So, I thought I’d put together a guide for first-timers who are also feeling stressed and maybe a bit lost.

1. Don’t stress! You’re not actually on the clock

First things first: unlike an actual F1 team principal, very few decisions in F1 Manager 2022 are time-sensitive. Instead, you decide when the days and weeks ahead of a race weekend are allowed to progress. This means you can take your time, explore every menu and consider every decision before committing to anything. Even during the race weekend, when unexpected events threaten to derail your strategy, don’t panic! Just pause the game. You are free to think about all your options and lock in a new strategy without any time pressure whatsoever.

Will this more thoughtful approach mean it takes you longer to progress through the game? Yes, it will, but that’s precisely how a game like F1 Manager 2022 should be played. The terrific irony of being an F1 Team Principal is that it’s not a race. You’re playing a long-term game, and the decisions you make now can affect your team for years to come. It quite literally pays to be sure. So don’t stress! Take your time. No one is forcing you to rush.

2. The team you choose will dictate the overall campaign difficulty

In F1, money makes the world go around and the team you choose to lead will correlate directly to your available finances. Teams at the top of the food chain, like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, have cash to splash. This creates a bit of a safety net that lets you make mistakes or suffer damaged parts during race weekends without it being too much of a punish on your resources. If you’re new to F1 or management games in general, this makes the front-runners a great place to start. Don’t go buying every last upgrade in sight, though! F1 has a per-year cost cap to keep teams from doing exactly that, meaning your budget may get tighter toward the end of the year.

Life is much harder for backmarker teams like Williams and Aston Martin, battling away with limited resources and less skilled personnel. You may be tempted to take Williams from the back of the grid to the front as a personal challenge! That’s great, and it will probably be a lot of fun! But understand that, at least for the first couple of seasons, you’ll have to do an awful lot with very little. Until you can start making consistent progress up the grid, every mistake and every setback will be a brutal gut punch. Know what you’re getting into!

3. Patience, persistence and consistency are the key to F1 Manager 2022

If you do decide you’re going to take Williams from the back of the pack to the front, don’t expect it to happen in a single season. Every F1 Manager 2022 campaign is designed to be played over several in-game years, which means rising to success will be a war of inches. First, you’ll need to find your patience. Everything, from upgrade pipelines to driver development and even the race itself, takes time.

Secondly, persistence is key. You’re not going to make all the right decisions the first time you play the game. You’ll still make mistakes even when you’ve become familiar with the game. That’s just the way it goes in F1! As the great F1 commentator Murray Walker once said, “Anything can happen in Grand Prix racing, and it usually does.” So stick with it, roll with the punches, and use every race as an opportunity to learn. There’s always another race, and you can always come back stronger. If you somehow wreck your season beyond repair, you can always start over and try again.

Thirdly, learn to recognise consistency when you see it. F1 is a sport conducted in tenths, hundredths and thousandths of a second. If you’re closing the time gap to your nearest rivals or inching toward those all-important points finishes, you’ll know you’re on the right track. If you’re falling behind or unable to make inroads on your nearest competition, you’ll know you’re failing to keep pace developmentally.

4. The power of recruitment

Are you starting at a backmarker team? Sack one of your drivers. Right away. At Williams? Latifi’s done. Get him out of there. I’m sorry, Nicky, you’re a nice guy, but you’re a liability. Hire yourself a statistically superior, cheaper driver like Oscar Piastri and give yourself a fighting chance from the jump.

This is an excellent example of the power of recruitment in F1 Manager 2022. You can recruit at just about every level of your organisation, from race strategy to engineering. Front-running teams are prestigious — almost anyone would entertain a job offer from Mercedes, for instance. Midfield teams like Haas or McLaren must demonstrate their potential and start racking up regular podium finishes to attract the brightest minds in the paddock. Backmarkers can bring in cheaper, greener talent or gamble on spending big for the right person, hoping it translates into substantial developmental gains.

5. Know before you go: recon every single race track before the weekend begins

In F1, preparation is everything. Your pre-race screens hold a wealth of helpful information, from predicted track temperatures to a reasonably accurate weather forecast. Deep-diving into this information will help inform your broader race strategy. Is the track going to be cold? Hard compound tyres may be out the window for the weekend. Is it likely to rain? Factor a potential extra pit stop into your tyre strategy. What kind of track are you heading to? Does it favour straight-line speed or being quick through the turns? Does that play to your car’s strengths or against it? Know before you go.

6. Get essential upgrades sorted now, worry about the rest later

A big part of F1 Manager 2022 is worrying about your finances. Early in your career, it’s common to want to save money. Everything costs a fortune and there’s an annual cost cap to keep an eye on. Despite this, the very beginning of the game is one of the best times to spend a bit of it. I’d advise getting your car’s most basic upgrades into development as quickly as possible. The faster you can get them manufactured and on the car, the better because it will give you a race or two of breathing room to optimise your next steps.

You’ll learn the game’s financial ebbs and flows as you go. You’re guaranteed an influx of cash at the end of every race, and if you understand the results your team can comfortably deliver, you can use sponsorship objectives to drive that dollar amount up race-to-race. So as long as you don’t go crazy upgrading the helipad or splashing cash you don’t have on upgrades you don’t need, you should always be in the green.

7. Don’t skip practice

Seriously, don’t skip practice sessions. This is a perfect example of what I was talking about earlier when I brought up patience. Yes, it can be dull. No, the times are not representative of the actual grid order. But practice isn’t necessarily about you. It’s about your drivers and your team. Practice helps bring your drivers up to speed at each track, building their confidence in the car and helping you gradually tweak it to their liking. Let your drivers run a few laps as a programme and then bring them back into the pits. See how they felt about the setup, make some changes and send them back out for another run. Have them run push laps where they can give it everything, followed by slower cooldown laps. It all adds up. By the time you reach the end of practice three, you should have a car and driver that are perfectly dialled in and ready to set a red-hot time in qualifying. If you simulate practice, you won’t get anywhere close.

8. Tell your drivers to send it on the first lap

F1 Manager 2022 lets you direct your drivers’ behaviour on the fly. Their level of tyre degradation, fuel, speed and tactics are all your decisions to make. Because a bar in your menu yells at you about fuel economy, many first-time managers are afraid to tell their drivers to push too often. They’re hesitant to go all-in because they don’t want to be caught short later in the race and have to limp home. I get it. Perfectly sensible thing to think. However, there is a time and place for getting on the radio with a “push, push”, and that’s the race start.

The first lap is absolutely critical to establishing your spot in the pecking order for any race. It’s the moment you’re most likely to pick up a few cheap places as everyone barrels through the first few turns. Because of this, there is no shame in telling drivers to gun it off the line. Set your driver strategy to attack and ask them to deploy their battery right from lights out. If you can make up some places in the first lap or two, fantastic. You’ve created a platform you can build on for the rest of the race.

9. Learn how to stage an undercut or overcut properly

Though F1 Manager 2022 contains many tips and guides for optimising race weekend strategy, it doesn’t get too deeply into the particulars of pit strategy. This is a shame because understanding when to bring your drivers in can make or break your entire race. So, for instance, the game will not tell you when you’ve found yourself in the perfect position to execute a move called an undercut. The undercut is a method of leapfrogging cars ahead of you by pitting early and then streaking by when they come in later on.

It can be hard to visualise, so let me give you an example.

Let’s imagine that your driver is stuck in a DRS train. DRS (Drag Reduction System) is a pre-planned zone on the track, usually on a straight, that allows a driver to open the car’s rear wing for a boost in speed. It’s used for mounting overtakes, which is why it can only be deployed when a car is within one second of the car in front. DRS trains form when four or more cars are racing very closely. Because they’re all within a second of each other and all getting the same boost in speed, no one can overtake, creating a queue. So let’s say your driver is stuck in one of these trains and you know they could go faster if they could just get past the cars in front.

This is a perfect moment to execute an undercut. Pitting your driver earlier than your scheduled stop will get them out of the DRS train and back on track with fresh tyres. Yes, you’ve sacrificed 20-odd seconds and will be further down the order than you were a moment ago, but here’s the thing: it’s not about where you are now. It’s about where you will be in five laps’ time. The fresh tyres will be fast, allowing your driver to quickly get around the track and make up some of that lost time. If you’ve timed it right, when all your opponents in the DRS train come in for their scheduled stops, your driver can fly past, jumping the queue while they’re all stuck in the pits. You won’t need to come in again because you already did, and now they have to chase you if they want those positions back.

You can apply this strategy to many scenarios, but you must know what you’re looking for. Learn to spot these opportunities and you will add a powerful weapon to your race day arsenal. It also feels incredibly good when you get it right.

10. Save often

Save often. Save all the time. There is no shame in quitting and reloading if you make a huge mistake while still learning the ropes. This is a complicated game and it’s easy to miss things! So if you mess up, go back and fix it!

The corollary to this is to be very careful with your save if you start a new campaign. Unfortunately, there’s only one save slot available at present, so unless Frontier feel like updating the game to contain a few more, you’ll have to be vigilant.

And that’s all our tips for F1 Manager 2022! Do you have any tips for first-time team principals? Please leave them in the comments and help your fellow players out.

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